Posting in Science
British researchers discover that the brains of cockroaches have molecules that are toxic to bacteria. Will roach brains be served up as a new type of antibiotics?
My first instinct around cockroaches have been to kill them with a paper towel. But apparently, their brains have antibiotic properties that might be a gold mine for drug companies.
"We hope that these molecules could eventually be developed into treatments for E. coli and Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections that are increasingly resistant to current drugs," University of Nottingham's Simon Lee said in a statement.
The brain tissue killed off 90 percent of the E. coli and MRSA. Remarkably, the healthy human cells were left alone.
"Also, these new antibiotics could potentially provide alternatives to currently available drugs that may be effective but have serious and unwanted side effects," he said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital-acquired MRSA infections kill 15,000 patients a year and sicken 90,000 more.
Doctors are scrambling for drugs to knock out the infections, but their best line of defense sometimes fails against the strong superbugs.
The fact that medical tourists are picking up an antibiotic resistant gene might be just the tip of the iceberg. Some experts are warning that the end of the antibiotic era is near.
That's why looking at creatures that live in unsanitary conditions makes sense. The cockroach is evolutionarily built to survive really gross conditions.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- The fight for life against superbugs
- War against superbugs: A coating that can kill MRSA upon contact
- Using algorithms, researchers predict how bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics
- Scientists can shut down a superbug’s CPU
- Medical tourists pick up antibiotic resistant gene
Photo: thefixer/ flickr
Sep 7, 2010
It was informative to read about the antibiotic stuff in the cockroachâs brain, it was interesting to read on. http://www.barriertermite.com/
sorry for all the typing mistakes! Regarding why the antibiotics are only found in their brains its because the brain is the most essential part of the body plus a bug can live with an infected leg, for instance, but a brain infection would almost certainly be fatal! (as cockroaches live in filthy places, full of harmful bacteria) and yes antibiotics were found in locust's brains as well! I'm wondering now, how could biotech companies benefit form this finding?
Regarding why in antibiotic are only in their brains, as it is the most essential part of the body plus a bug can live with an infected leg, for instance, but a brain infection would almost certainly be fatal! and yes antibiotics were also found in locust's brains as well! I'm wondering now, how could biotech companies benefit form this finding?
This might be the answer to controlling the roach, mouse and rat popultaions as well as helping to protect us!
A lot of cockroaches are very nervous about all this. It's reminscent of Woody Allen's line in his movie, Sleeper: "They can't take my brain! That's my second-favorite organ."
Will cockroaches be the salvation of the American farmer? What will be the value of cockroach brains per pound? More than diamonds? I wonder if other insect brains have unexpected health benefits? So many questions...
Everybody knows, as Boonsri put it in different words, that cockroaches are remarkably hardy critters. There have long been jokes about them being the sole survivors of the coming nuclear holocaust. So it is not too surprising to find that they have this ability to kill bacteria. What is surprising is that it would be in their brain tissue. More coverage of why that might be so would have made this a really good science article.