Dr. Joseph Ndieyira, one of the developers involved in the technique, said that they are reporting a novel, nanomechanical approach to investigate the workings of vancomycin - one of the last powerful antibiotics used to combat increasingly-resistant infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Using tiny cantilevers (or beams) no wider then a human hair, Ndieyira and his colleagues take advantage of the cellular stress that antibiotics, when effective, impose on a target bacteria's cell wall. Such stress in turn causes the cantilevers to bend. Using lasers, the bending can then be measured-providing tremendous insight into the drug-target interaction.
According to Ndieyira, the cantilever technology confronts a growing problem of multidrug-resistant hospital superbugs.
It could aid in the drug discovery process by preventing lead-drug candidates from being disregarded due to a lack of equipment with sufficient sensitivity, and its hope is to jumpstart an already stagnated drug-pipeline by providing this sensitivity in an efficient manner-the cantilever method can simultaneously measure and track a variety of drug-bacteria interactions in real time.
Ndieyira said that the cantilever assays provide a resolution that simply cannot be obtained with conventional methods, like those using fluorescence.
The study is set to be published in JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments.
--ANI (Posted on 27-10-2013)