Best Life: Killing superbugs with a tiny tool - medicine’s next big thing?

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Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 6:45 AM CDT
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HOUSTON, Texas. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Each year, nearly three million people suffer from antibiotic-resistant infections. Bacteria is smart, and these bugs quickly develop immunity against the most powerful antibiotics.

Now, researchers are using tiny, nano drills to penetrate the hard exteriors of bacteria molecules; enabling the precise delivery of antibiotics, aimed at saving lives.

Superbugs are smart and immune to most medications.

Karl Klose, Ph.D., a microbiologist, told Ivanhoe, “So, the bugs aren’t really any different than they’ve ever been, but we’ve lost the ability to treat the infection.”

Because we’ve used too many antibiotics too often.

“When you flood the human population with antibiotics, what you’re going to end up with is bacteria that are resistant to those same antibiotics,” explained Klose.

Scientists at Rice University are utilizing nano drills.

“Now, we pop holes with the nanomachines and then, the drugs get in through that, and kill the bacteria,” detailed Jim Tour, Ph.D., a synthetic organic chemist at Rice University.

The microscopic molecules are activated by light.

“They’re designed such that when we shine a light on them, they will rotate unidirectionally, at three million rotations per second,” continued Tour.

That rapid rotation basically blows up the bacteria cell. It’s called, ‘blebbing.’

Tour told Ivanhoe, “It’s very selective and they die by exploding. You just punch holes in them and the cells bleb—boom!”

Once the cells are open for meds, doctors will even be able to use older antibiotics.

Tour said, “What it does is allows us to use antibiotics that have already been outdated. That the bacteria thought they already built a defense to.”

Companies are now putting money behind this research, meaning a faster track for FDA approval. Jim Tour believes that if all goes as planned, this process of nano drilling to kill bacteria will be available in about five years.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Donna Parker, Field Producer; Bruce Maniscalo, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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