February 22, 2014
A chemist from the University of Copenhagen recently took out a patent for a drug capable of curing bacteria of their resistance to antibiotics, according to a press release.
Jørn B. Christensen, PhD, and colleagues from the University of Southern Denmark and King Christian X’s Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Gråsten, Denmark, discovered that an isomer from the antipsychotic drug Thioridazine (Mellaril, Novartis) can block bacteria’s efflux pump, preventing their ability to shed antibiotics before the drugs can cause damage.
The researchers said they intend for the medication to be used for treatment of multidrug resistant tuberculosis. Taken as a whole, the antipsychotic was shown to kill bacteria without causing harm to the patient, but the isomer they selected for the patented formula is the milder of the two associated with Thioridazine, which makes it even more tolerable for patients, according to Christensen.
“We now have a substance that is able to block the bacteria’s efflux pump,” he said in the release. “At the very most, recipients of the medication may become slightly sluggish. This is also because very small doses are needed to affect the bacteria.”
The researchers said they are looking to recruit investors to put the drug on the market, and because Thioridazine is already approved by the FDA, they hope the formula can be approved more quickly. If that fails, Christensen said he has an alternative plan.
“I would rather donate this discovery to a [non-governmental organization] able to use this substance in poor countries that suffer from drug-resistance problems than watch it collect dust in the industrialized world,” he said.