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Cholesterol drug strips staph of color, virulence
Reuters via Yahoo ^ | 2-15-08 | Deena Beasley

Posted on 02/15/2008 12:35:11 PM PST by Dysart

Potentially deadly staph bacteria may be easily defeated by the body's own immune system once stripped of their golden hue by a drug developed to lower cholesterol, according to new research.

The findings offer a promising new direction in the fight against increasingly drug-resistant staph infections, according to the National Institutes of Health, which supported the research.

An international team of researchers found that a "squalene synthase inhibitor," originally developed by Bristol Myers Squibb, blocks infections of Staphylococcus aureus, named for its "golden halo," in mice.

Staph contains a carotenoid -- like beta carotene in carrots -- that acts like an antioxidant against the immune system, Dr. Eric Oldfield, chemistry professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the study's lead researcher, said in a telephone interview.

The body's circulatory system essentially puts out "bleach" to kill invaders, but staph's golden pigment blocks the process, he explained.

Observing research showing that removing a gene in staph's pigment-making pathway created a less virulent bacteria, Dr. Oldfield noticed that the metabolic pathway was similar to the one for the production of cholesterol in humans.

"Once you knock out the enzyme, the bacteria still proliferates, but the immune system can kill it," he said.

Other researchers discovered that three drugs designed to act on the human cholesterol enzyme blocked staph's pigment production in lab tests.

When they treated staph-infected mice with one of the compounds, dubbed BPH-652, the bacterial population was reduced by 98 percent. The results were published in the latest online edition of the journal Science.

A spokesman for Bristol-Myers said the company was no longer developing the compound, part of a class known as squalene synthase inhibitors, which has been largely surpassed by the popular cholesterol-fighting statin drugs.

"They would probably have adverse side effects if you took them for 40 years ... but that doesn't happen in one week," Dr. Oldfield said, referring to the likely treatment timeline for patients infected with staph, which largely occurs in hospitals.

He said the research team is testing several hundred other compounds "to see if we get something better."

Meanwhile, the next step will be to explore whether the pigment-fighting approach will work in humans.

"Although the results are still very preliminary, they offer a promising new lead for developing drugs to treat a very timely and medically important health concern," NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni said in a statement.

Drug-resistant forms of staph have become more common, and in October a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus killed an estimated 19,000 Americans in 2005.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: immunity; msra; squalenesynthase; staph; statins; superbugs

1 posted on 02/15/2008 12:35:13 PM PST by Dysart
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To: Dysart

Viruses of color ping!.......


2 posted on 02/15/2008 12:37:54 PM PST by Red Badger ( We don't have science, but we do have consensus.......)
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To: yorkie; TigersEye; neverdem

interesting.


3 posted on 02/15/2008 12:38:40 PM PST by pandoraou812 (Out, damned spot......)
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To: Dysart; Lil'freeper

Interesting


4 posted on 02/15/2008 12:39:02 PM PST by big'ol_freeper (REAGAN: "..party..must represent certain fundamental beliefs [not] compromised..[for] expediency")
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To: Dysart

bump


5 posted on 02/15/2008 12:40:35 PM PST by VOA
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To: Dysart

So, should we be giving massive doses to Hillary whose golden campaign suit color masquerades a deadly virus?


6 posted on 02/15/2008 12:40:52 PM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Never say never (there'll be a VP you'll like))
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To: Dysart

Sounds promising.


7 posted on 02/15/2008 12:41:30 PM PST by donna (Separated at birth: Hugo Rafael Chavez and Barack Hussein Obama.)
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To: Dysart
Since statins are largely harmful, maybe they really have a purpose in this limited application.
8 posted on 02/15/2008 12:44:55 PM PST by SERKIT ("Blazing Saddles" explains it all.....)
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To: SERKIT

This isn’t a statin. I’ts a “squalene synthase inhibitor” which aren’t produced anymore because they were replaced by statins.


9 posted on 02/15/2008 12:51:56 PM PST by DannyTN
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To: Dysart
"methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus killed an estimated 19,000 Americans in 2005"

Sounds high.


10 posted on 02/15/2008 1:03:24 PM PST by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: Dysart

Sounds very promising!


11 posted on 02/15/2008 1:05:57 PM PST by MEG33 (God Bless Our Military)
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To: I see my hands
Sounds high.

Not necessarily. Most of them were probably old and already in the hospital, which is by far the best place to pick up these infections. IOW, most of them were dying anyway. The bacteria just finished them off.

12 posted on 02/15/2008 1:07:30 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Dysart

good news bump!


13 posted on 02/15/2008 1:09:01 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: I see my hands

It’s exactly in line with widely reported estimates. I think the number is 18,650...so it’s rounded to 19k here. On what basis do you believe it’s high?


14 posted on 02/15/2008 1:09:51 PM PST by Dysart
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To: DannyTN

Do you know what the names of these drugs were when they WERE produced?


15 posted on 02/15/2008 1:11:49 PM PST by Ditter
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To: Dysart; Sherman Logan
"On what basis do you believe it’s high"

Probably on the basis of forgetting how large a number 300,000,000 is. After my post I ran the round numbers in my head and 19,000 may be a large number of people absolutely but still a tiny percentage of our population.

I'm still surprised the deaths from this infection are in the same magnitude as traffic deaths, for example. I just never knew. Ignorant.


16 posted on 02/15/2008 1:18:35 PM PST by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: Dysart
This seems to have patent related issues as well. Big picture stuff. Here's my thinking -- PATENTS are grants of the sovereign, in industry they are for a monopoly in the production, and/or distribution of a good. A "good" here means a item that is packaged and sold, and perhaps also produced and invented.

We have come to think of patents as the fair proceeds due an inventor -- that the inventor or initial creator/discoverer has some inherent right to the ownership of his created property.

That is a totally FALSE ideation, a way of thinking without practical merit -- and as time as shown -- very toxic to the process of discovery of new things.

Here is a case of an old drug out of patent that perhaps should be returned to patent. That is to say in order to make it cheaply and reliably we may want to auction off or otherwise give out a few patents of a set duration for its exclusive manufacture.

17 posted on 02/15/2008 1:20:16 PM PST by bvw
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To: Dysart
This is hue!
18 posted on 02/15/2008 1:21:12 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: bvw

Why do you think patents discourage invention? I agree that patent and copyright laws are often abused, but allowing inventors or creators to profit from their creations will generally encourage inventing and creating, not discourage it.


19 posted on 02/15/2008 1:42:14 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Ditter

These compounds were not marketed as drugs.(Yet) The article refers to one of the compounds which has showed promise—BPH-652— but there are variations of SSI compounds.

I imagine Bristol will get right on it if testing pans out...


20 posted on 02/15/2008 1:43:37 PM PST by Dysart
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To: Paleo Conservative

Nice! :)


21 posted on 02/15/2008 1:44:02 PM PST by Dysart
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To: pandoraou812

Thanks for the ping.


22 posted on 02/15/2008 2:01:08 PM PST by neverdem (I have to hope for a brokered GOP Convention. It can't get any worse.)
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To: Sherman Logan
Why do you think patents discourage invention?

That's not what I said.

I said that there is today a common misinterpretation of what patents are, and by what natural right they arise. It is the misinterpretation which hurts innovation greatly.

23 posted on 02/15/2008 2:03:11 PM PST by bvw
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To: pandoraou812

Very interesting. Kill those bugs!


24 posted on 02/15/2008 2:09:37 PM PST by TigersEye (This is the age of the death of reason.)
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To: Dysart; pandoraou812; VOA; Ernest_at_the_Beach
A Cholesterol Biosynthesis Inhibitor Blocks Staphylococcus aureus Virulence
25 posted on 02/15/2008 2:18:46 PM PST by neverdem (I have to hope for a brokered GOP Convention. It can't get any worse.)
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To: Dysart

Glad to hear about this. Thanks for posting it.


26 posted on 02/17/2008 9:48:20 PM PST by syriacus (McCain promises to transfer 400+ Gitmo prisoners to Ft. Leavenworth on his first day as president.)
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