Bacteria genome may yield GI drug targets

Related tags Bacteria

Researchers in Germany, Switzerland and the USA have completed a
genome map of the bacteria Helicobacter hepaticus in the
hope of providing new drug targets to treat a related organism that
causes gastrointestinal disease in humans.

Researchers in Germany, Switzerland and the USA have completed a genome map of the bacteria Helicobacter hepaticus​ in the hope of providing new drug targets to treat a related organism that causes gastrointestinal disease in humans.

H hepaticus​ is usually found in the mouse, while the related organism, Helicobacter pylori​, is found in humans. Both bacteria are pathogenic. Indeed, the discovery that H pylori​ is involved in a large proportion of cases of peptic ulcer revolutionised the treatment of this disease in the 1990s, as doctors switched from long-term treatment of ulcers with acid-suppressing drugs to short courses of antibiotics designed to eradicate the bacteria. More recently, H pylori​ has been linked to gastric cancer is now considered a Class I carcinogen by the World Health Organisation.

The hope is that a comparison of the genome sequences of the two organisms should provide valuable insight into the pathogenic mechanisms of bacteria to promote chronic infection, inflammation and malignant diseases like cancer, said the researchers, from MWG Biotech and the University of Würzburg in Germany, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA and Switzerland's Genedata.

Moreover, the availability of genomic maps for both H hepaticus​ as well as the mouse "opens the door for systematic research on the causes of the carcinogenic potency of the bacterium using the mouse model​", they note.

Related topics Preclinical Research

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