Bacteriostatic Treatment for Staph Infections (20110209, Dr. Patrick Schlievert)

Technology No. 20110209
IP Status: Issued US Patent; Application #: 14/367,116

Prevent Staph Infection and Reduce Drug Resistance

Cationic peptides could be used as an alternative to treat staph infections in place of antibiotics. Bacteriostatic cationic peptide analogs block the ability of S. aureus to produce exotoxins, thus inhibiting their ability to colonize. Blocking colonization will stop the staph infection in its first stage and prevent the bacteria from becoming pathogenic. This mechanism is different than antibiotics, which broadly kills bacteria - both good and bad. Alternatively, cationic peptides disarm the ability of the bacteria to colonize, thus limiting virulence while maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria. Using this method to treat staph infections in place of antibiotics could also help stop the perpetuation of antibiotic resistant strains of the bacteria, especially in high risk environments such as hospitals. These peptide analogs could be used in multiple routes of administration including topical creams, aerosols, coatings, intravenously, etc depending on the site of infection.

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MRSA Increase in Healthy People

Increased drug resistance is a challenge that has arisen with the continued overuse of antibiotics. This practice has led to the development of highly virulent antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Staph infections in hospitals cause extended visits and high costs both to patients and providers. Though staph infections have been common in hospitalized patients, or those with weakened immune systems, there is a rise in the number of healthy people with these infections. Bacteria such as S. aureus produce exotoxins that play an important role in their ability to colonize their host, produce more exotoxins, and ultimately result in what may end up being a drug resistant infection.


  • Ability to block bacterial colonization and virulence via the inhibition of exotoxin production
  • Prevents diverting the host immune system from antibody-based immunity, preventing bacteria from causing more serious illnesses such as TSS, purpura fulminans, and related serious illnesses
  • Less toxic than aggressive antibiotic regiments with less chance of drug resistance
  • Easy to produce treatment

Phase of Development In vitro demonstration has shown inhibition of exotoxin production, in vivo demonstration completed in rabbit model.

Patrick Schlievert, PhD
Professor, Microbiology, University of Iowa

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