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Clinical Development of Cationic Antimicrobial Peptides: From Natural to Novel Antibiotics

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Over the past decade, levels of bacterial resistance to antibiotics have risen dramatically and ”superbugs“ resistant to most or all available agents have appeared in the clinic. Thus there is a growing need to discover and introduce new drugs. One potential source of novel antibiotics is the cationic antimicrobial peptides, which have been isolated from most living entities as components of their non-specific defenses against infectious organisms. Based on these natural templates, scores of structurally diverse antimicrobial cationic peptides have been designed, manufactured both chemically and biologically, and tested for activity against specific pathogens. A few of these peptide antibiotics have entered clinical trials to date, with mixed success. However, their diverse portfolio of structures, activity spectra, biological activities, and modes of action, provide substantial potential.
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Keywords: Antibiotics; Burkholderia; COMBINATORIAL LIBRARIES; Cationic Antimicrobial Peptides; Cationic peptides; Lipopolysaccharide; Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Vancomycin resistant Entrococcus

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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