(Third in the Series of Pharmacy Articles)
Antibiotic medications are well known by most people as they are very common. The name literally means against-life as these drugs kill bacteria that cause Human infection. Antibiotics have been around since the 1930's when they were first discovered. Over the years the bacteria in many cases have become resistant to some antibiotics. This is a very dangerous situation which will leave the medical profession with no other effective method to fight infection. In essence we’ll be going back to the pre-1930 days when Humanity would have to stay in bed and hope that its own systems could fight and kill the infection. The fact is that very large numbers of people will either die or be very significantly damaged if they survive.
Evolution is a process where all life adapts to its environment to insure survival of its kind. It does seem that there is no stronger significance to Biology than procreation of the next generation or survival of the species. In complex biological systems such as mammals evolutionary changes can take thousands to millions of years to occur. Once a life form becomes so complex it just isn’t easy to change everything. But, in bacteria the systems are much less complex and changes to the Nucleic Acid (Genes) coding can occur rather fast in terms of months and years.
Penicillin for instance is nothing more than a chemical that comes from mold and is refined for our use. It kills bacteria by engaging in chemical reactions with new forming bacteria cell walls. Penicillin then prevents the cell wall from completing and the bacteria dies because its vital chemicals and water leak out. Azithromycin (Z-Pack) works differently by binding with transfer reactions in a bacteria and making it impossible for the bacteria to divide and grow. Penicillin cause immediate massive death of bacterial colonies and Z-Pack arrests bacterial growth and further then leaves the bacteria sitting there defenseless against the body’s own defenses.
Over time now bacteria have developed chemicals which can attack Penicillin and deactivate it. This is what is meant by Penicillin resistance. Research is now being done to develop drugs which will kill bacteria in different ways which they cannot currently defend against. Some of these drugs have a similar mechanism as do the anti-cancer drugs I previously discussed in this series. If we can develop drugs that attack cancer DNA then we should also be able to develop drugs that attack bacterial DNA.
There is also research going on with respect to developing a biological delivery package of antibiotics right to the location of an infection. Some companies are trying to see if they wrap antibiotics in virus capsules whether they could deactivate the virus and deliver the antibiotics into the bacterial cells just like viruses do. It is also possible along the lines of Origami designer drugs, also previously discussed in this series, that antibiotics could be delivered exactly where they’re needed in a specially wrapped delivery system as opposed to the general shotgun delivery of these drugs to the whole body which we’re still doing when we swallow a pill.
This area of Bio-Pharma also has blockbuster potential and should be watched. Keep your eye on micro-cap new companies doing research on antibiotic drugs as well as biological delivery systems. This segment of the market along with anti-cancer drug development is going to blow up. Just imagine the number of people who take antibiotics and do the math from there. I will keep you posted on such developments so that you have an early word and you understand what’s going on.