Thursday 6 November 2014

New approaches to control pathogenic bacteria

Bacteria are becoming ever more resistant to our Antibiotics and there is a danger that many diseases will resurface and cause an increasing number of deaths Worldwide. Researchers are developing new approaches controlling bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and some of the techniques can target specific bacterial strains.

Some of the methodes include:

Bacteria have natural predators called phages—viruses that replicate inside the organisms and burst out to destroy them, Alien-style. One upcoming human clinical trial pits phages against bugs in infected burn wounds, while another targets drug-resistant staphylococcus.

Scientists can design DNA-like molecules that block specific genes so cells can't translate the code into proteins. No proteins for cell division or membrane-building means bacteria can't reproduce. This is being tested on animals currently.

Bacteria already attack each other with toxins called bacteriocins. Doctors just need to get them to go
for the specific target. Researchers have engineered a strain which will deploy these chemicals only when it detects pheromones from a pathogenic bug.

A recently discovered gene-editing system called Crispr attacks bacteria by destroying their DNA. It
searches out gene sequences unique to drug-resistant strains and then chops up the strands to kill the
organisms. Development of this as a medical option is still in its early stages.

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