Local researchers find potential new drug - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local researchers find potential new drug

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - We've all experienced the usual head cold, but what you may not be aware of are deadly bacteria that can turn a little cut into a life-threatening infection. Local researchers are finding answers to human diseases where fish live.

Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography uncovered what could become the new wonder drug powerful enough to fight a lethal biological weapon and deadly bacterial diseases. It's all thanks to a sample collected in Santa Barbara by Scripps Institution of Oceanography associate researcher Christopher Kauffman.

"So what I collected was sediment. I had my board shorts on, walked out into the ocean, scooped a bit of sand and brought it back to the lab," he said.

It's called anthracimycin, which comes from a micro-organism in the ocean.

"We probably collected 3,000 samples and have isolated 15,000 microorganisms, so you just hope for the best that one of them is lucky," Kauffman said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, MRSA infection is caused by a strain of staph bacteria resistant to antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections. No doubt there's a need for more effective treatments. Isn't it nice to know local researchers are finding answers in our own backyard?

"Having the human health benefit is definitely a motivating factor for the job so you make a discovery is a perk for the job and makes you want to keep going.

This compound has the potential to be more potent than any antibiotics on the market today, but it could take a while before you or I will benefit from something like this. The standard timeline to reach drug store shelves is about 10 years.

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