• Question: What is the tratment you're working on ?

    Asked by 362anta33 to Marikka, Matt, Rob on 20 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Robert Hampson

      Robert Hampson answered on 20 Nov 2014:

      MRSA talks to itself. Each bacterium releases a chemical called AIP. When the concentration of AIP is high, this indicates that there is a lot of MRSA in the local area. A receptor on the surface of the MRSA called AgrC detects the AIP in the environment. When this happens, all the MRSA start to release nasty stuff (called virulence factors), for example it releases something called haemolysin which pops red blood cells. This helps it to grow more, thrive and find more food by digesting human tissue.

      I make chemicals called cyclic peptides which stick to the AgrC receptor to stop it seeing the AIP. This then also stops the MRSA releasing all of the virulence factors. Hopefully, this will allow the immune system to clear the infection more effectively without needing to kill the bacteria directly.

      We hope that because we are not killing the bacteria directly that they will not develop resistance or it will only develop very slowly.