The Search for New Antibiotics

The Search for New Antibiotics

When you look at the history of drug discovery
especially, if you talk about Antibiotics, we haven’t found many of the new drugs
since 1970. Only a few new drugs that just came out in
the market in 2000. The thing about finding new drugs is that
Antibiotics, they are natural products. 90% of them are from bacteria and fungi. To find a totally new structure of chemical
compounds that we can use as a new drug… A computer, even a lot of software, you can’t
come up with that. For example, penicillin itself, you can see
that we have modified it, but still the core structure of penicillin, the computer cannot
know that. You need to go find rare or less studied bacteria,
which will be the source of the drug production. That’s why a lot of us that are in this field,
we like to go into extreme habitats whether it would be deep down, you know, in the ocean
sediment or desert or hot spring or go into different types of caves to find really superheroes,
I would say The types of bacteria or fungi or microorganism
that live in such extreme habitat, that they could potentially have a different and new
metabolic pathway that we haven’t seen before, in the hope that we could find new drugs from
that. Now, you have two camps of bacteria.
The bad bacteria… And then, we have another camp of the type
of bacteria that produce metabolites for us as Antibiotics.
The metabolites can kill the cell wall of the bad bacteria, or it can inhabit DNA replication
or RNA function of the bad bacteria. Now, all of these bad bacteria have gained
so much ability to resist to our existing Antibiotics, so we need to find new Antibiotics.
So basically, my students and I go to the cave.
We collect soil sample or rock sample, and then we take it out back to the lab, and then
we isolate as many as we can in the lab. And then, we ferment them, and see what things
they produce, and then we extract it, to see whether those compounds kill bad bacteria.
And you know what? Thousands of metabolites have been discovered but when you get to the
FDA approval, the, you know, clinical trial (many levels of it), and produce it in the
industrial setting… From my experience, it takes ten to 25 years
to be able to develop one new antibiotic Um, it depends on your standard of danger,
I guess Yeah, I found that caves are mysterious, don’t
you think? It’s like, who actually could live in caves? Where do microorganism that live in the caves
get their nutrients from? Their food from? In the cave, there are lots of mineral deposits
and certain groups of bacteria can actually extract energy from those minerals. When you think about it, we live with bacteria. Bacteria and microorganisms are everywhere. We cannot live without them but don’t you
think that they often get bad press? How many people know that less than one percent
of microorganisms make us sick? That microorganisms make up to about three
pounds of us in an average healthy adult? So we can’t really think about us as an individual
anymore, I’m trying to tell my students, we should think of us as we are a system as well.
As a human species, we try to live in this clean bubble.
We need to be less afraid of bacteria. That’s why I go to caves… Because we do live with them.
We cannot live without them.

87 thoughts on “The Search for New Antibiotics

  1. To say that a computer "Can not know that" is needlessly narrow minded. The interactions between complex molecules is, admittedly, a difficult thing to simulate. None the less, there ARE projects that are making great headway into this emerging field. Please don't shut this avenue out in your own mind, OP, as I think it'll result in saved time and lives.

  2. It's only a four minute summary of her research. She couldn't possibly get into every detail, so "can not know that" is probably just the short way of saying that the technology isn't there yet. I doubt she's a "narrow minded" person. No need to plead "OP pls" as if they've committed themselves to ignorance – give the crew at PhD Comics a little credit.

  3. What I don't understand about the whole issue with antibiotics, is why don't we exploit the same evolutionary mechanisms that the drug resistant bacteria use?

    If we have organisms out there that produce gene products which serve an adaptive function through disrupting the reproduction/killing bacteria, then why don't we subject large numbers of these organisms to these antibiotic resistant bacteria over generations, and see what these organisms come up with as new weapons/antibiotic compounds?

  4. That was interesting! And yes, I've wondered why so many children develop allergies which were rare in older generations. Apparently, trying to protect them in cleaner environments, their parents make them more vulnerable. They haven't been expsed to bacterias and haven't developed the necessary antibodies.

  5. It's not the accent that bothered me.. She spoke very clearly.. It was the poor editing and cutting spaces between the words that made the whole speech unnatural..

  6. My spoken English is also not good, but I can feel her passion in her voice. She loves her job. In Science, that's far more important than having a good voice.

  7. Well the time scale on all of this would certainly be tricky. It would be a large scale project for sure. On the one hand all of these bacteria do have a LOT of hospitals to breed in and test antibiotic counter-measures.

    But on the other hand we have some precedent to suggest that we can speed up evolution quite a bit under intense artificial selection (in this case ONLY reusing the "good" bacteria who competed most effectively?)

    In the long run, it seems the only long term supply of new drugs

  8. Antibiotics are substances produced by the fungi and bacteria, not the fungi and bacteria themselves. So you can't get a fungal infection by using antibiotics derived from fungi…

  9. amazing 🙂 I didn't know there had been such a long pause in antibotic discoveries. Good to know science has combined medicine, microbiology and extreme sports into saving people 😀 Who said science was boring?

  10. I'm not believing that they have committed themselves to ignorance, just voicing concern that the possibility exists. It did come across as dismissive of said technology, to me. My own misinterpretation? Possibly, but the concern remains.

  11. I'm not an expert and 500 characters is painfully few, but in evolution we need to distinguish between mutations (random; often unhelpful; can create new genes) and selection (non-random; requires existing genes). Antibiotic resistance is mostly based on old, formerly uncommon genes that we unintentionally selected for. Waiting for new genes via mutations would be terribly slow, but we can instead seek out and select for "new" old genes that create other antibiotics — exactly what Ann is doing.

  12. Great topic and good video, but I gotta say, the narration made it difficult to listen to.

    I say that as someone for whom English isn't a first language either.

  13. You must have had only English speaking friends and professors. Most of the scientific community does not speak English at all. My biochemistry professor's accent is leaps and bounds worse.

  14. Your view is wildly optimistic. There are billions of possible combinations of atoms that could be synthesized. A computer cannot know how these new compounds interact with microorganisms. Rational drug design is about finding a molecule that fits a particular known protein – a process far less difficult than new drug design for an unknown target. The only viable way to find out whether a compound will be active is through testing. Computer antibiotics ? Not any time soon, MM notwithstanding.

  15. More studies should be done on compounds in garlic; the infamous vampire warder. WSU found that garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics at fighting disease causing bacteria. Unlike these antibiotics it does not pose the threat of resistant bacteria. Also worth mentioning, is that antibiotic use can lead to candidiasis, which can potentially lead to cancer formation. Garlic inhibits candida growth. Of course, the quest for the holy grail continues.

  16. Modeling a molecule is a far cry from modeling a protein. Typically a computer attempting to model a protein can only extrapolate from previously known structures and it isn't always right. The number of permutations is staggering, far more than even computers can analyze reasonably at this time.

  17. well, I think you're right about the compter power to date, but molecular modeling can help us design an active molecule. Most of the antibiotics have a small size compared to proteins, even vancomycin and daptomycin which have peptidic nature are not super big as a protein is. I don't like the vid because it misleads this area, because, YES we can find a totally new structure to use as a new drug. I believe that the vid fails to explain the main reason to find a microorganism to explore (Cont.)

  18. (cont.) new molecules, and that is that bacteria can be used later to do the chemical synthesis of the substance of interest, and help mass production.

  19. YOU PEOPLE ARE NUTS! Knowledge coming to you and all you care about is accents. She and her accent may save your perfectly spoken life some day!!!!! You may have to "Thank you" and she and her accent may say "yur weekcom" but your alive to criticize….so I guess that what count 🙂 Must be nice to be so perfect….

  20. "They became resistant to current antibiotics so we need to find new antibiotics"

    Unless scientists understand the resistance mechanism and manipulate it through epigenetics/gene therapy, we will still have to wait 25 more years for new antibiotics with loads of side effects

    Just saying Genetics > Microbiology

  21. Some comments are not needed. Their mouths are making their ears deaf. Great work Ann! A great accent forces people to listen instead of hear. The people who hear you will never become great.

  22. aww this is a cool video.. the way you talk in english has ALOT of character.. its very funny yet still gets the message across clearly.. you're a very good communicator of ideas and concepts! i enjoyed this video.. tnx 🙂

  23. They already found a way to eliminate bacteria using bacteriophages.  Basically, they are now five years from being able to engineer certain viruses to kill only bad bacteria.  Ta-Da!

  24. im not racist but WTF, who makes a production value video with this type of narration?!?! Please redo in English by English

  25. She cannot even get the chemical structure of penicillin correct! So how does she expect to find new compounds?

  26. The main problem, of having a lack of working Antibiotics, have happened cause that bacteria become resistant when exposed to them at large scale. 

    And many of Antibiotics have the "nice" side effect that livestock will grow faster and fetter if applied… caused to waste potential heal potential for short term economic interests. 

    Also the pharmacological industry stated and I quote here: "Would not making enough profit from it". So that wasn't a decision made not to research new Antibiotics because there would be no profit, but there would be not enough to satisfy their greed…

  27. To all those bitching about accents – never ever work in a general, non specialised job like retail in a major city in Australia. I moved for university and had to adapt for what is basically nearly the whole world's worth of accents in under a year or i could never work. It's not that hard. Get over it.

  28. Would it really be that hard to get a native English speaker to narrate? This is not a racist comment, which seems to be the knee-jerk reaction below. It is grating and very off-putting. I bet many people would not listen to the video because of that fact. Why be so discerning with the animation and not the narration?

  29. Wow finally someone who is honest about what antibiotics are in short1.) antibiotics are not anti life they are in fact life itself, however there are a few things that must be noted2.) diseases don't gain resistance something different is going on-my secret to be told a decade or so from now- but not gaining resistance3.) you really don't need multicellular colonial fungi to create cure for disease advancement in technology and chemical bonding of compounds is what you really need this process would be greatly enhanced if you know the science behind the immune system which I will tell a decade or so from nowand finally 4. ) my computer is so slow I can't even copy and paste on you tube stop policing, monitoring and in the process making it hard and pissing me off you ungrateful assholes cause once I make my final article you're going to wish I will ever write again I will but decades from now nobody tells me what to do. You're just lucky that I'm lazy and I don't take my articles seriously that's why I write in small burst but once I force myself to write my last and final articles your going to wish everyday was you pussy mommy's day. Putttinnn I want asylum!

  30. Long therapies with antibiotics increase all cause women's' mortality by 27%!

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