24 August 2012
Rather than trying to kill bacteria outright with drugs, Université de Montréal researchers have discovered a way to disarm bacteria that may allow the body’s own defense mechanisms to destroy them. “To understand this strategy one could imagine harmful bacteria being like Darth Vader, and the anti-virulence drug would take away his armor and lightsaber,” explained Dr. Christian Baron, the study’s lead author and Professor at the Department of Biochemistry. “A naked Darth Vader would be an easy target and similarly, pathogenic bacteria without their virulence factors would be rendered harmless and eliminated by our immune system.” Virulence factors are what make certain bacteria harmful to our bodies and different from most bacteria that live on our body or inside the intestinal system, which are harmless or even useful for us. Baron’s research group will publish an article outlining the details of their findings tomorrow in Chemistry & Biology.