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July 9th, 2007
New way to target and kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria
Putting bacteria on birth control could stop the spread of drug-resistant microbes, and researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found a way to do just that.
The team discovered a key weakness in the enzyme that helps "fertile" bacteria swap genes for drug resistance. Drugs called bisphosphonates, widely prescribed for bone loss, block this enzyme and prevent bacteria from spreading antibiotic resistance genes, the research shows. Interfering with the enzyme has the added effect of annihilating antibiotic-resistant bacteria in laboratory cultures. Animal studies of the drugs are now underway.
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