Kadouri is the principal investigator of a project that examines the therapeutic potential of two types of predatory bacteria that kill germs that have developed a resistance to antibiotics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infections caused by drug-resistant pathogens – a result of the overuse of antibiotics – now pose urgent and serious threats to public health.
“It’s believed to be as great of a threat to global health and safety as global warming,” says Kadouri, a microbiologist at the School of Dental Medicine’s Center for Oral Infectious Diseases.
Kadouri’s effort is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Pathogen Predators program, which develops alternative methods of fighting infections and disease. The effort is managed through a cooperative agreement with Rutgers University, DARPA and the Army Research Office.Kadouri will continue his research on two types of predatory bacteria that are lethal to microorganisms that cause disease: Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus penetrates prey and kills from within. Micavibrio aeruginosavorus is a vampirish organism that devours germs from the outside. In addition to eradicating bacteria that cause lung disease and germs that develop from wounds and burns, the predatory bacteria fight food borne pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella.
Related studies by Kadouri have been funded by the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army since 2009. “Soldiers were coming back from war zones with these drug-resistant infections, and they had nothing to treat them with,” he explains.
In the most recent phase of his work, Kadouri and his team will be delving deeper into studies that explore how animals are affected by the predatory bacteria – and how effectively the bacteria combats illnesses and infection in animals. Preliminary research has indicated that the predatory bacteria are non toxic to mice, says Kadouri.
He will collaborate on the study with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School professor Nancy Connell of the school’s Division of Infectious Disease, and researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
– Carrie Stetler
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