New antibiotics?

Deborah A. Steinberg 73414.707 at CompuServe.COM
Fri Nov 1 12:41:22 EST 1996

You should check your information regarding the source of current 
antibiotics.  Most were discovered from actinomycetes, not fungi. 
Early reports misidentified them as fungi due to their 
filamentous growth but they are prokaryotes NOT eukaryotes.  Many 
antibiotics in use today are chemically modified derivatives of 
the original structures, and often are produced by chemical 
synthesis rather than fermentation.  Furthermore, most 'new' 
antibiotics are merely modifications of the basic structure to 
expand spectrum of activity or combat resistance mechanisms.
As for truly new chemical entities, check out abstracts from the 
ICAAC conference in New Orleans last Sep.  The oxazolidinones 
( from UpJohn) are a new class of antimicrobial agents.  
Technically, they are NOT antibiotics since the definition is "an 
antimicrobial substance produced by a microorganism" and these 
are synthetic drugs.  Similarly, the anitmmicrobial peptides from 
frog skin (magainins) are antimicrobial agents, NOT antibiotics. 
There are several hundred antimicrobial peptides discovered to 
date from many forms of life.  IntraBiotics is developing one 
from pigs (protegrins) to treat infectious diseases.
Finally, there are many people pursuing the marine environment as 
a source of new chemical entities from animals or microbes.  I 
suggest a more thorough review of the literature before you 
proceed with your lecture on 'new antibiotics'.  
Debbie Steinberg, IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals, Sunnyvale, CA

Dr. Deborah A. Steinberg
Director Microbiology, IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals
email:73414.707 at compuserve.com
(408) 991-6439

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