Nanotechnology boosts war on superbugs

This week Nature Nanotechnology journal (October 12th) reveals how scientists from the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) at UCL are using a novel nanomechanical approach to investigate the workings of vancomycin, one of the few antibiotics that can be used to combat increasingly resistant infections such as MRSA. The researchers, led by Dr Rachel McKendry and Professor Gabriel Aeppli, developed ultra-sensitive probes capable of providing new insight into how antibiotics work, paving the way for the development of more effective new drugs. Continue reading “Nanotechnology boosts war on superbugs”

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Scientists develop sensitive nanowire disease detectors

Yale scientists have created nanowire sensors coupled with simple microprocessor electronics that are both sensitive and specific enough to be used for point-of-care (POC) disease detection, according to a report in Nano Letters.

The sensors use activation of immune cells by highly specific antigens — signatures of bacteria, viruses or cancer cells — as the detector. When T cells are activated, they produce acid, and generate a tiny current in the nanowire electronics, signaling the presence of a specific antigen. The system can detect as few as 200 activated cells. Continue reading “Scientists develop sensitive nanowire disease detectors”

Scientists identify gene that may make humans more vulnerable to pulmonary tuberculosis

Researchers from the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and its collaborators have now identified for the first time a new gene that may confer susceptibility to pulmonary tuberculosis. Their findings, published October 10 in the open access journal PLoS Genetics, reported that a gene named Toll-like receptor 8 (TLR8), previously shown only to recognize some factors from viruses such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), has a probable role in human susceptibility to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections. The results from the study also found that males are more susceptible than females. Continue reading “Scientists identify gene that may make humans more vulnerable to pulmonary tuberculosis”

Tuberculosis drug shows promise against latent bacteria

A new study has shown that an investigational drug (R207910, currently in clinical trials against multi-drug resistant tuberculosis strains) is quite effective at killing latent bacteria. This revelation suggests that R207910 may lead to improved and shortened treatments for this globally prevalent disease.
Continue reading “Tuberculosis drug shows promise against latent bacteria”

Cranberry juice creates energy barrier that keeps bacteria away from cells

For generations, people have consumed cranberry juice, convinced of its power to ward off urinary tract infections, though the exact mechanism of its action has not been well understood. A new study by researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) reveals that the juice changes the thermodynamic properties of bacteria in the urinary tract, creating an energy barrier that prevents the microorganisms from getting close enough to latch onto cells and initiate an infection.
Continue reading “Cranberry juice creates energy barrier that keeps bacteria away from cells”