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From L to R: Neeloffer Mookherjee, (department of internal medicine & immunology), Goutam Guchhait, (department of chemistry), Frank Schweizer, (department of chemistry and medical microbiology), and George Zhanel, (department of medical microbiology)

Novel multifunctional anti-infective agents discovered!

April 22, 2015 — 

A collaborative UofM study has led to the discovery of a novel class of multifunctional anti-infective agents. A study spearheaded by Frank Schweizer, department of chemistry and medical microbiology, Goutam Guchhait, department of chemistry, Neeloffer Mookherjee, department of internal medicine & immunology, and George Zhanel, department of medical microbiology has identified a novel class of antimicrobials which combine the known direct antibacterial effects with the unknown host-directed clearance effects.

The study entitled: “Amphiphilic Tobramycins with Immunomodulatory Properties” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. doi: 10.1002/anie.201500598 demonstrates that conversion of the clinically used aminoglycoside antibiotic tobramycin into an amphiphile induces beneficial immune responses that aid in the clearance of a bacterial infection.


The results show for the first time that amphiphilic tobramycin can boost the immune response required for the recruitment of immune blood cells such as neutrophils, which play a critical role in clearing bacterial infections. In addition, the study demonstrates that amphiphilic tobramycin can selectively control inflammatory responses to prevent septic shock. Both effects have not previously been reported with unmodified tobramycin.

This research opens up new avenues to develop multifunctional anti-infective agents which combine direct antibacterial effects with host-directed clearance effects.

An abstract of the paper is available online at the Wiley Online Library at

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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2 comments on “Novel multifunctional anti-infective agents discovered!

  1. Karl Theodore Riese

    When peniciilin was first used in the 1940ties one injection of 10,000 units would dramatically clear a lung full of pneumonia. will the modified tobramycin do the same with the current field of bacteria?

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