Therapeuticbacteria-1

Bacteria May Help Protect Cancer Cells

Developing cancer drugs is challenging. Often, scientists will find a drug that kills cancer cells in a petri dish but fails to act on an actual tumor. Ravid Straussman from the Weizmann Institute of Science and Todd Golub from Harvard Medical School think that in situ, bacteria can protect cancer cells from drugs. To test their theory, Staussman and Golub mixed some healthy skin cells with cells from a … Continue reading Bacteria May Help Protect Cancer Cells

Vancomycin-Resistant_Enterococcus_01

Expanding the Antibiotic Arsenal: A New Drug of Last Resort

Prior to the discovery of antibiotics, bacterial infections were the leading cause of death worldwide. Now, treating infections is often a routine procedure – simply requiring a doctor’s visit and a prescribed antibiotic. However, this simple routine has become marred by the emergence of antibiotic resistance. The misuse and overuse of antibiotics is fueling the rise of resistant bacteria. In response to antibiotic exposure, bacteria have evolved … Continue reading Expanding the Antibiotic Arsenal: A New Drug of Last Resort

bacteria-106583

Microbial Physicians: Delivering drugs with bacteria

by Benika Pinch Fancy a pill packed with bacteria? Researchers are investigating using genetically modified bacteria, taken in pill form, to treat human disease. Informally, they are called “designer probiotics”. But, unlike probiotics (microorganisms with known health benefits), they can’t be obtained via a serving of yogurt from your local supermarket. Rather, the bacteria in question are feats of genetic engineering and are specifically designed … Continue reading Microbial Physicians: Delivering drugs with bacteria

Pseudomonads I

Pseudomonads I

The adaptation of the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa often produces phenotypic diversity. Here, mutants isolated from a genetic screen show notable differences in phenotype: the production of pigments, size, shape, and texture. The blue-green pigmentation seen in some mutants results from the production of pyocyanin, an excreted toxin that kills other microbes and mammalian cells. Whereas, the brown pigmentation is caused by the exocellular pigment, pyomelanin, which … Continue reading Pseudomonads I

Colistin Resistant E-Coli

Bacteria Resistant to Last-Line Antibiotic Found in US

In May, researchers identified for the first time a bacterial infection in the US that was resistant to the last-resort antibiotic colistin. Colistin was the last remaining antibiotic effective against all bacteria in the country – a weapon of last resort. This particular infection was sensitive to other antibiotics and was cured, but the presence of colistin resistant bacteria in the US (it was known … Continue reading Bacteria Resistant to Last-Line Antibiotic Found in US

Bacterial superpowers

Irresistible: Stopping bacteria from acquiring evil superpowers

The news is filled with stories of bacteria beating antibiotics – over time, bacteria can become resistant to drugs that are used to fight them. Unfortunately, this means that the “wonder drug” you thought could cure your infection may eventually be outsmarted by the bacteria it was designed to treat. In order to tackle bacterial resistance, scientists have devoted substantial effort to understanding how bacteria … Continue reading Irresistible: Stopping bacteria from acquiring evil superpowers

syn30

Streamlined 473-Gene Bacteria May Lead to Discoveries, Biochemical Production

Scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute have created a fast-growing bacterial cell with a nearly-minimal number of genes necessary for survival – just 473 in total. These genes were entirely synthesized – not transplanted from a grown organism – and the creation of such a cell may allow big steps forward in gene function identification and efficient mass-production of biological molecules. Continue reading Streamlined 473-Gene Bacteria May Lead to Discoveries, Biochemical Production