A new group of antibiotics with iridium that target methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) could provide a safe and effective treatment for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to research findings published in Medicinal Chemistry Communications.

Scientists from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University developed new antibiotics containing synthesized pentaalkylcyclopentadienyl (Cp*R) iridium (Ir) and cobalt (Co) 1,2-diamine complexes, which do not easily break down. Additional testing is needed to determine the safety of these antibiotics, although they have been shown to be nontoxic in animal models. Tests in human cell lines have also shown that cells remained normal and healthy when tested with these new compounds.

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“So far our findings show that these compounds are safer than other compounds made from transition metals,” said corresponding study author Joseph Merola, PhD. “One of the reasons for this is that the compounds in this paper that target MRSA are very specific, meaning that a specific structure-function relationship must be met in order to kill the bacteria.” The researchers hope to identify characteristics of these antibiotics over the next few years, such as their stability, distribution and concentration in tissue, penetration into white blood cells, and metabolism.

For more information visit VT.edu.