Tomorrow’s Medicines

Little black mushrooms on his walk prompted Zasloff to get curious. He found that they produced something that could cure pneumonia in mice.

A small black mushroom found in the woods of northern Europe contains the first of what may be a powerful new class of antibiotics and antivirals, a researcher here says.

“I think we are looking at a whole new world of antibiotics,” said Michael Zasloff, M.D., Ph.D., of Georgetown University Medical Center.

Plectasin, a peptide derived from a fungus called Pseudoplectania nigrella, is as effective as penicillin and vancomycin in combating experimental peritonitis and pneumonia in mice, Dr. Zasloff and colleagues reported in the Oct. 13 issue of Nature.

Is this the new penicillin? Not yet. “Note that this study suggests a new class of antibiotics is possible, but caution patients that more study is needed before they will be available for therapy.”

Well, duh. We study everything, with good reason. It will be a while before we can try this stuff out on folks. But it’s hope, for people like my sister and mom who are allergic to penicillin. And it offers hope, too, against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Gives them something new to fight.

via Red State Moron