Monday, April 4, 2011

IBM Nanoparticle Breakthrough Destroys Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Via Business 2.0 Press -

A team of engineers and researchers headed by Dr. James Hedrick at IBM Inc. has developed a new technology that could revolutionize how resistant bacterial infections are currently treated.

IBM researchers created a new type of nanoparticles that are capable of destroying the membrane walls of certain drug-resistant bacteria strains, leaving the cells to harmlessly thaw without any trace. The new system works by using biodegradable plastic to engineer electrically charged nanoparticles that in turn attract to the bacteria’s opposite charge, in turn destroying the membrane walls hence the cell entirely.

Traditional antibiotic medicines, like apo amoxicillin, block certain types of microorganisms that can cause infections from multiplying by interfering with their DNA. Mostly, these medicines work very well in destroying all (which is why it is critical to follow dosage instructions from your physician, and continue to take your prescribed medication even after you feel better) bacteria over the course of treatment, but there are times when not every bacterial cell is killed which could later become drug resistant.

The new breakthrough methodology developed at IBM is able to destroy the cell’s membrane wall, leaving the remaining matter of the cell to safely degrade. Since the molecules of the system are organic, the human body is able to easily dispose of the medicine, unlike certain antibiotics that are not as easily removed by the body hence causing side effects.

The system proved successful in destroying methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria in laboratory tests involving infected mice, according to results published in Nature Chemistry. The system has yet to be tested on humans, but IBM said the company is currently in talks with major pharmaceutical firms looking at creating a human trial, but declined to publically say which specific firms are involved in talks.

MRSA bacterium is common around the world, and it is responsible for millions of deaths resulting from various infections, including respiratory infections.

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