News / Health

    Frog Skin Oozes Possibly Powerful Antibiotic

    Amphibians secrete new weapon for drug arsenal

    The skin of certain frogs, including this foothill yellow-legged frog, contains secretions that may lead to new antibiotics to fight infections that shrug off the effects of existing antibiotics.
    The skin of certain frogs, including this foothill yellow-legged frog, contains secretions that may lead to new antibiotics to fight infections that shrug off the effects of existing antibiotics.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Rosanne Skirble

    Frogs secrete compounds that could be used to battle MRSA and a new emerging bacterium that affects many wounded soldiers in Iraq.

    According to Mideast researchers, the amphibians could provide several new antibiotic compounds to fight drug resistant fungi and bacteria.

    Worldwide threat

    The emerging battle against drug-resistant bacteria poses a huge threat to public health worldwide. That threat has loomed larger as the number of effective antibiotic drugs has dwindled.  

    J. Michael Conlon, a biochemist at the United Arab Emirates University, says frog skin, which protects the amphibians from injury and disease, is coming to the rescue by providing a wealth of new antibiotic compounds to fight drug resistant fungi and bacteria.

    "Frogs of necessity have to live in a warm moist environment that is very conducive to the growth of micro-organisms. They've been around for a long, long time, at least 300 million years" says Conlon. "So, it's not so surprising that, over the course of evolution, they have developed defenses against these invading pathogens."  

    Conlon has identified germ-fighting chemicals from more than 200 frog species from around the world by isolating peptides or strings of proteins that have the ability to kill bacteria and fungi.

    He says the challenge is to get those agents to work in humans. "The problem is that as well as efficiently killing micro-organisms, they are to various degrees toxic to mammalian cells.  So it's not a great idea to cure infection if you kill the patient at the same time."  

    Fighting two major pathogens

    Conlon's laboratory in the United Arab Emirates works with samples from frogs gathered collaboratively by scientists in Japan, France and the United States.

    The naturally occurring compounds are first purified and then synthesized. At that point, structural changes are made in the molecules. The results have proved to be less toxic to human cells.

    Conlon says the new compounds show promise in fighting two major pathogens, the well known methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and a new emerging bacterium, Acintobacter baumanni. "This has been called the Iraqibacter because many wounded soldiers in Iraq have developed infections by this microorganism."  

    Frog mouthwash

    Conlon also sees great potential for other antibiotic applications from creams and ointments for wounds to treatment of foot ulcers.  He adds that the peptides have shown to be very effective against oral pathogens. "So we are interested in the possibility of incorporating of incorporating them into a mouth wash."

    But Conlon says as a researcher in a small university lab, he can only take the product so far.  "To bring a drug from the laboratory to the pharmacy literally costs hundreds of millions of dollars. We really need a partner in the pharmaceutical industry with which to collaborate."   

    Should that partner step forward, J. Michael Conlon predicts that some frog-skin derived compounds could make their way into clinical trials and into marketable drugs within five years.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora