October 5, 2009

Study may lead to new ulcer treatments

Spanish scientists say they've identified substances that can block a chemical pathway needed by bacteria that cause stomach ulcers and other diseases.

Professor Javier Sancho and colleagues at Zaragoza University said they knew from past research that blocking flavodoxin, a key protein needed by Helicobacter pylori bacteria for survival, could be the key to developing antibiotics specifically targeting the gastritis- and ulcer-causing bacteria.

Sancho's team screened 10,000 chemicals for their ability to block flavodoxin and identified four that showed promise. They said they then showed three of the four substances killed H. pylori in cell cultures and did not have any apparent toxic effects in lab animals.

These new inhibitors constitute promising candidates to develop new specific antibiotics against H. pylori, the researchers said.

The research is to be reported in the Oct. 16 issue of the journal Chemical Biology.