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The World in Medicine
October 15, 2008

New Targets for Antibiotics

JAMA. 2008;300(15):1752. doi:10.1001/jama.300.15.1752-a

Two teams of scientists report they have identified new targets in bacterial pathogens that might facilitate the development of novel drugs active against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

One team, in Japan, discovered a novel genetic pathway that some bacteria, including Chlamydia and Helicobacter pylori, use to synthesize a molecule called menaquinone they need to survive (Hiratsuka T et al. Science. 2008;321[5896]:1670-1673). Because human cells and intestinal bacteria lack this pathway, it might be possible to develop new drugs that specifically target these pathogens.