BGU researchers develop antibiotic tweezers to battle resistant bacteria

The tweezers could harm bacteria without causing them to gain resistance.

Ben-Gurion University researchers behind antibiotic "molecular tweezers" (photo credit: DANNY MECHLIS/BGU)
Ben-Gurion University researchers behind antibiotic "molecular tweezers"
(photo credit: DANNY MECHLIS/BGU)
Researchers from Ben-Gurion University have developed "molecular tweezers" to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the university announced on Monday.

In recent years, medical professionals have struggled with the challenge of antibiotics becoming less effective as bacteria become resistant to the antibiotics.

The tweezers target the biofilm, a thin layer of fibers that protects the bacteria, by gripping the fibers and destroying the protective layer. The new development harms the bacteria without directly attacking it, meaning that it would develop resistance to the measure.
"The success of the study in damaging biofilm using molecular tweezers indicates an innovative direction of antibiotic treatments against pathogenic bacteria without concerns of developing resistance," said Dr. Raz Jelinek, vice president and dean for research and development of Ben-Gurion University, who led the study. "In fact, this is the first time it has been shown that biofilm formation can be prevented and existing biofilm destroyed by molecular tweezers."
"In a study that lasted more than three years, we were able to decipher the mechanism by which 'molecular tweezers' succeed in preventing biofilm formation," said Dr. Ravit Malishev, who also led the study. "This breakthrough may open up new ways to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria."