FAMU Professor receives patent to combat MRSA "Superbug"

Seth Y. Ablordeppey
Posted at 10:41 AM, Mar 15, 2013
and last updated 2014-06-18 11:49:57-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A Florida A&M University Professor is making strides towards eradicating a staph infection that's been dubbed a "super bug."

Professor Seth Y. Ablordeppey has received a patent to develop an inexpensive compound that combats Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is a staph infection that is resistant to common antibiotics.  He is developing drug compounds using plants he found in Ghana, West Africa.  He found antibacterial activity in the plants that heals wounds.  He is looking at their extracts to see if one will kill MRSA.

“We wanted some simple compounds that we can synthesize in a very short period of time and we are looking towards getting compounds which are not that expensive so that people can afford them,” said Ablordeppey, a professor of medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (COPPS).

MRSA is typically more problematic for the elderly, for people with weakened immune systems, including cancer patients on chemotherapy and for patients undergoing kidney dialysis or using venous catheters or prosthetics. Just about anyone, however, can be infected by MRSA.

Fellow COPPS professor and interim vice president for research, K. Ken Redda noted this patent’s relevancy,  “I congratulate Dr. Ablordeppey again for his outstanding achievement in pushing the frontiers of drug design and drug development research at our dynamic College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.  Because of drug resistance issues, it is important for us to keep on developing novel anti-infective agents.”

Professor and dean of the COPPS Michael Thompson commended Ablordeppey’s latest drug discovery.

“MRSA infections continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality in practice and the armamentarium of effective agents are few,” Thompson said.  “Dr. Ablordeppey and the researchers in his lab are to be commended for this new discovery as it has the potential to save lives and to reduce morbidity significantly—especially in hospitalized settings.”

According to Ablordeppey, the major problem of hospital-acquired and community-acquired MRSA is that we may be on the last lines of defense against this resistant microorganism, sometimes referred to as the “superbug.” Therefore,  he says the need to develop new and novel entities that can overcome this dreaded bug cannot be over-emphasized.

Ablordeppey concluded that his lab has now identified two groups of synthetic agents that are more effective in in-vitro testing and better therapeutic profile than several standard drugs on the market today.

“These agents are not currently available for public use, but are undergoing the usual pre-clinical studies that would move them toward the clinic,” Ablordeppey said. “This patent would enable us to work more arduously to achieve that objective to get the drug to health-care facilities everywhere.”

The name of Ablordeppy's latest invention and latest patent  is 3-Substituted Quinolinium and 7H-Indolo[2,3-C]quinolinium Salts as New Anti-infectives.