Golden Staph cure

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

A VERY real hope to rid hos­pi­tals of po­ten­tially deadly “golden staph” is mov­ing closer to be­com­ing re­al­ity thanks to the Dain­tree’s green-eyed tree Frog.

Sci­en­tists work­ing in the rain for­est have dis­cov­ered its skin se­cre­tions are toxic to a range of bac­te­ria in­clud­ing multi-dru­gre­sis­tant Sta­phy­lo­coc­cus au­reus, or known more com­monly as golden staph.

The frog, which in­hab­its the Cooper Creek wilder­ness near Cape Tribu­la­tion, only pro­duces the se­cre­tions in a bid to pro­tect it­self but it has been dis­cov­ered that the pep­tides pro­duced within the se­cre­tions may be ben­e­fi­cial to mankind.

And the frog’s po­ten­tial to kill off golden staph looks very promis­ing ac­cord­ing to Pro­fes­sor Frances Separovic, bio­phys­i­cal bi­ol­o­gist and Head of Chem­istry at Melbourne Univer­sity, who is un­der­tak­ing tests of the frog’s skin se­cre­tions.

Golden staph is one of a num­ber of great­lyfeared strains of Sta­phy­lo­coc­cus au­reus of­ten found in hos­pi­tals and have be­come highly re­sis­tant to most an­tibi­otics.

But ac­cord­ing to Prof Separovic’s re­search the frog’s skin se­cre­tions con­tain an­timi­cro­bial pep­tides that de­stroy bac­te­rial mem­branes.

Prof Separovic said the re­search had so far taken four years to con­duct and it is still very much on­go­ing and would be at least an­other 10 years be­fore it was con­cluded and they could use the frog’s se­cre­tions in a “real world” ap­pli­ca­tion.

“We have found four main pep­tides within this frog’s se­cre­tions with one of them show­ing signs of be­ing par­tic­u­larly use­ful in fight­ing Golden Staph,” Prof Separovic said.

“In our search of ways to fight an­tibi­oti­cre­sis­tant bac­te­ria, such as Golden Staph, we are analysing syn­thetic anti-mi­cro­bial skin se­cre­tions of Aus­tralian green-eyed and growl­ing grass frogs.

“These two species were se­lected be­cause pep­tides se­creted from their skin form a de­fence to the in­fa­mous Golden Staph.”

Photo by NEIL HEWITT

Golden frog: Green-eyed tree-frog that may have an­tibi­otic prop­er­ties in its skin se­cre­tions to help fight Golden Staph

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