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Sponge Compound Lowers Microbes’ Antibiotic Resistance

Researchers from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and colleagues have identified a unique anti-biofilm chemical, derived from a sponge, that seems to be able to reverse antibiotic resistance in many strains of harmful bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

When researchers mixed the agent with antibiotics and applied them to microbial infections in humans, they appear to re-sensitize organisms resistant even to current-generation antibiotics.  Understanding the properties of this natural product may explain why some marine organisms such as the sponge Agelas conifera can survive when others appear to be struggling when exposed to the same infection.

Newly discovered products from the sea assist environmental and medical scientists solve marine animal and human diseases.  This link between oceans and human health reinforces the benefits marine research brings to the American public.

This collaborative effort between NCCOS, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the North Carolina State University was highlighted at the 2009 AAAS conference held in Chicago February 12-16.

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