Mikael Elofsson, Åke Forsberg, Professor Umeå University, and Herwig Scüler, group leader Karolinska Institute, have joined forces to try to understand the molecular mechanisms behind the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa´s virulence. The long term goal is to identify and tailor small organic molecules, which can block the bacteria's virulence. These virulence blocking molecules could serve as a starting point for the development of new sustainable pharmaceuticals, with a low risk of favoring an upsurge of resistant bacteria.
Pseudomonas can cause severe disease among patients with a compromised immune response, which may culminate in pneumonia or blood poisoning. The molecular strategies that Pseudomonas use in order to get an upper hand against its hosts are common among other pathogenic bacteria, and the results from this study can potentially be used to develop drugs against other pathogenic bacteria and diseases as well.
Mikael Elofsson has a long interest in developing small molecules which can control pathogenic microorganisms and, in collaboration with Professor Göran Wadell, Mikael runs an antiviral project at Umeå Biotech Incubator.