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Published on 3 August 2009

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New method to tackle infection

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Scientists claim to have found a new method of fighting infection which does not include the use of traditional antibiotics.

Researchers have discovered a molecule that can disrupt a process called “quorum sensing”, which allows bacteria to communicate information.

The process allows bacteria to carry out tasks that would not be possible if just one individual bacterium was acting alone. It enables chemical signals to be produced which bind to molecules within the bacteria or on their outer surfaces. Tests on laboratory worms showed that a particular family of molecule could block both kinds of receptor.

Study leader Dr Bonnie Bassler, from Princeton University in the US, said: “Our results make a strong case and provide compelling evidence that an anti-quorum-sensing strategy is a valid alternative to traditional antibiotics, and that there is merit to pursuing the clinical relevance of such strategies.

“The work is also significant in that treatments based on disruption of quorum sensing interfere only with bacterial signalling and not growth, potentially minimising the sometimes devastating development of bacteria that are resistant to treatment.”

The findings were published in the journal Molecular Cell.

Copyright Press Association 2009

Princeton University

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“It’s great that bacteria’s have so many chemicals inside. We are looking for them, we are trying to fight them, but bacteria’s are also “inteligent” and are able to produce new substances to survive.” – Iwona, PI



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