Conjugated Polymers Act Synergistically with Antibiotics to Combat Bacterial Drug Resistance

The emergence of drug-resistant bacteria severely challenges the antimicrobial agents and antibacterial strategy. Here, we demonstrate a novel, simple, and highly efficient combination therapy strategy by direct combinations of cationic conjugated polymers (CCPs) with polypeptide antibiotics against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria based on a synergistic antibacterial effect. The combination therapy method enhances the antibacterial efficacy with a significantly reduced antibiotic dosage. Also, the highly efficient and synergistic killing of drug-resistant bacteria is realized. Using combinations of CCPs and antibiotics to show increased antibacterial activity, this strategy will provide a much wider scope of the discovery of efficient antibacterial systems than that of antibiotic–antibiotic combinations. The proposed combination therapy method provides a universal and powerful platform for the treatment of pathogens, in particular, the drug-resistant bacteria, and also opens a new way for the development of efficient antibacterial systems.