The first major scientific article on the antimicrobial peptide SAAP-148 appeared today in Science Translational Medicine.
In this paper, scientists from LUMC, AMC and the Association of Dutch Burn Centers tested SAAP-148 in bacterial cultures in the lab and models of injured skin. The results were positive: all bacteria were eliminated, including bacteria that were resistant to antibiotics and even bacteria that had formed a protective layer around them called biofilms.
Additionally, the scientists observed that it is much harder for bacteria to become resistant to the peptides in contrast to traditional antibiotics. The peptides kill the bacteria from the outside by disrupting the cell membranes, within minutes.
The prestigious journal writes: “Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health. To develop a new type of weapon in the arms race against bacteria, de Breij et al. generated a panel of synthetic peptides based on the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37. The lead candidate from this panel, SAAP-148, can kill dangerous antibiotic-resistant pathogens in many contexts, including on ex vivo human skin and in biofilms. Long-term exposure to SAAP-148 did not induce bacterial resistance. Topical application of SAAP-148 could one day be used in hospitals to help patients combat bacteria resistant to traditional antibiotics”.
Science Translational Medicine calls the new peptide a new way to keep bacteria at bay
In a press-release, the scientists emphasize that bacteria often form biofilms that attach to catheters, infusion lines and prostheses. “As a result, bacterial infections of, for example, an artificial hip or knee are difficult to combat with antibiotics ” Dr Peter Nibbering of the LUMC and Dr. Bas Zaat of the AMC say in this press release. “It is expected that it will succeed with these peptides.”
SAAP-148 is the lead product of Madam Therapeutics, and is anticipated to enter the first clinical trials in humans in 2018, for which we are currently fundraising.