Monday, March 3, 2008

Nanoparticles as antibiotics

Advances in medicine...

"Our ultimate goal is to use these nanoparticles as a treatment for children in underdeveloped countries," said Fred Stutzenberger, a retired professor of microbiology at Clemson who is publishing a review of the research next month in the journal Advances in Applied Microbiology.

The researchers made a microscopic ball of polystyrene, the same plastic used in CD cases. Threads hang off of the ball, and at the end of each one is a molecule that, to certain bacteria, looks like sugar. E. coli, salmonella, and other potentially deadly bacteria latch onto the molecule but can't process it, and essentially glue themselves to it. Eventually dozens of nanoparticles attach themselves to the bacteria, making it very difficult for an infection to develop or spread...

Since the nanoparticles latch onto an area of the cell critical for triggering an infection, it would be hard for the bacteria to develop a resistance to the nanoparticles (the same process that leads to antibiotic-resistance bacteria) and still cause an infection.

I really like this idea, for the same reason I like bacteriophages. Unlike with antibiotics, you are attacking the intrinsic characteristics of the microbe. It can't do its job without becoming vulnerable to your countermeasures.


"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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