First Proof a Synthesised Antibiotic is Capable of Treating Superbugs

Original article can be found online.

A “game changing” new antibiotic which is capable of killing superbugs has been successfully synthesised and used to treat an infection for the first time – and could lead to the first new class of antibiotic drug in 30 years.

The breakthrough is another major step forward on the journey to develop a commercially viable drug version based on teixobactin – a natural antibiotic discovered by US scientists in soil samples in 2015 which has been heralded as a ‘gamechanger’ in the battle against antibiotic resistant pathogens such as MRSA and VRE.

Scientists from the University of Lincoln, UK, have now successfully created a simplified, synthesised form of teixobactin which has been used to treat a bacterial infection in mice, demonstrating the first proof that such simplified versions of its real form could be used to treat real bacterial infection as the basis of a new drug.

The team at Lincoln developed a library of synthetic versions of teixobactin by replacing key amino acids at specific points in the antibiotic’s structure to make it easier to recreate. After these simplified synthetic versions were shown to be highly potent against superbug-causing bacteria in vitro – or test tube – experiments, researchers from the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) then used one of the synthetic versions to successfully treat a bacterial infection in mice.

As well as clearing the infection, the synthesised teixobactin also minimised the infection’s severity, which was not the case for the clinically-used antibiotic, moxifloxacin, used as a control study. The findings are published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

It has been predicted that by 2050 an additional 10 million people will succumb to drug resistant infections each year. The development of new antibiotics which can be used as a last resort when other drugs are ineffective is therefore a crucial area of study for healthcare researchers around the world.

Dr Ishwar Singh, a specialist in novel drug design and development from the University of Lincoln’s School of Pharmacy, said: “Translating our success with these simplified synthetic versions from test tubes to real cases is a quantum jump in the development of new antibiotics, and brings us closer to realising the therapeutic potential of simplified teixobactins.

“When teixobactin was discovered it was groundbreaking in itself as a new antibiotic which kills bacteria without detectable resistance including superbugs such as MRSA, but natural teixobactin was not created for human use.

“A significant amount of work remains in the development of teixobactin as a therapeutic antibiotic for human use – we are probably around six to ten years off a drug that doctors can prescribe to patients – but this is a real step in the right direction and now opens the door for improving our in vivo analogues.”

Dr Lakshminarayanan Rajamani from SERI added: “We need sophisticated armour to combat antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Drugs that target the fundamental mechanism of bacterial survival, and also reduce the host’s inflammatory responses are the need of the hour. Our preliminary studies suggest that the modified peptide decreases the bacterial burden as well as disease severity, thus potentially enhancing the therapeutic utility.”

The work builds on the success of the Lincoln team’s pioneering research to tackle antimicrobial resistance over the past 22 months to turn teixobactin into a viable drug. The team will now develop a bigger library of simplified synthetic versions which can be used in a diverse number of applications, advancing the goal of a clinical drug.

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Students had the opportunity to chat with a number of delegates from industry and NHS Trusts

Industry reps dispense advice to MPharm students at careers fair

On Thursday 25th January 2018, the School of Pharmacy, University of Lincoln, hosted its annual Careers Fair for students studying MPharm Pharmacy with the School.

The event was held in the Think Tank, University of Lincoln

The event was held in the Think Tank, University of Lincoln

As well as receiving talks from industry representatives about Pre-Registration, students were able to meet and chat with delegates from a number of NHS trusts including: ULH, NLAG, NUH, Sherwood Forest, Yorkshire & the Humber and East of England – most were members of Oriel.

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Also in attendance was the Lincolnshire Co-Op, Boots, Lloyds, Jhoots and Imaan Healthcare and representatives from industry on behalf of the RPS IPF and the APS.

Delegates from the British Army were also present to talk about the many careers options for Pharmacy- below is a short video interview with British Army Pharmacist, Captain Ashleigh Britland, discussing her experience of a career in Pharmacy.

 

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Claire’s MPharm exchange programme with the BPSA

The MPharm course at the University of Lincoln provides students with the opportunity to undertake an optional placement in the UK or overseas. 

Placements can range from a few weeks to a full year if students choose to undertake an optional sandwich year in industry.

3rd year MPharm student, Claire Hodge, went on a student exchange programme which is run by the British Pharmaceutical Students Association (BPSA) and in partnership with the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF).

Claire wrote about her experience below:

I was really excited about going to America as I’d never been before! I was also really interested in finding out about the differences in healthcare systems between the UK and the USA.

On the 7th July I set off for SeaTac airport in Seattle from London’s Heathrow.

My placement was three weeks long; I spent my first week at Swedish Hospital’s Cherry Hill campus, a hospital specialising in neurology and cardiology, my second week at a specialty Walgreen’s Pharmacy which managed patients with infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis, and my final week at Harborview Medical Centre, which is Washington state’s primary trauma unit. The unit is also the primary trauma center for Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

I especially enjoyed my time in the two hospitals as this is where my passion in pharmacy has been since I started training as a pharmacy technician before beginning university.

It was incredible to see the differences between pharmacy work in the UK and America.

Retail pharmacy in the US is massively different too, but I have to say that the UK seems more advanced in terms of electronic prescriptions and such.

 

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On the more social and tourist side of things, I had enough time to spend sightseeing with other students from the University of Washington, and also with my host family who were absolutely amazing. I went up to the top of the Space Needle, visited all the local museums and zoo, and went up to the top of Columbia Center which is the tallest building in Seattle’s skyline!

For anyone fellow students wanting to take part, the placements are advertised throughout the year on their websites and by representatives within the University and it’s a fairly straightforward application process. 

I would 100% recommend other students to take part in the student exchange program, as everyone I know who has done has absolutely loved it! It was an amazing opportunity that I’m so grateful to have taken part in.

My time so far at the University of Lincoln has been amazing and really allowed me to start developing a professional identity for myself which will prove to be really helpful in our future careers. The staff at Lincoln are all incredibly supportive and I think we have such a unique and interesting pharmacy course so I’m very happy to be studying here.
 
After graduating I am hoping to go into hospital pharmacy but I am also keeping my mind open and getting in as much varied work experience as possible, just in case!

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Pharmacy Friends at the School of Pharmacy, University of Lincoln

The School of Pharmacy, runs a unique buddy scheme for all students within the School and this year’s Pharmacy Friends event takes place on Monday December 4th 2017.

Held in the Minerva Building, MB0603 from 11am – 3pm, the main objectives of this event are:

1. Personal support (e.g. Transition to University for year 1 students)

2. Help with studies (e.g. 1-2-1 or group study support)

3. Collaboration in Citizenship (e.g. Volunteering and Charity work)

This year, the Pharmacy Friends scheme has been integrated into a core module, LINCaPP (Lincoln CPD and Professionalism Portfolio), which counts towards each student’s overall grade.

Also attending the event will be Rachel Ashmore (Education & Volunteering Co-coordinator with the Lincolnshire Co-op) and Helena Buono (Employability Co-Ordinator, SU Lincoln Executive Officer). Students will have the opportunity to chat with Rachel and Helena about potential volunteer work and related opportunities to aid their studies.

All students attending the buddy event are encouraged to Tweet our School using the hashtag #PharmacyFriends @Lincoln_Pharm

MANSAG charity holds 28th annual conference in Lincoln

The charity MANSAG (Medical Association of Nigerians Across Great Britain) held its 28th Annual conference at the Bentley Hotel, Lincoln from the 27th – 29th October 2017.

Many medics from across Britain and some dignitaries from Nigeria were in attendance. The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Alhaji Ahmed Yakasai, seized the opportunity to visit a few pharmaceutical points of interest in Lincoln, in particular, the School of Pharmacy at the University of Lincoln.

Alhaji Yakasai was given a guided tour of the facilities at Joseph Banks Laboratories which houses the School of Pharmacy. This was a unique networking opportunity for those in attendance and one that some of our MPharm students of Nigerian descent will always remember.

Photos from the tour are below.

Many thanks to everyone who helped to organise the conference at short notice!