New Technique to Fight Infection
Some infections are chronic like CF, cholera, bronchitis, and even recurring sinus infections. These diseases create a biofilm that makes it difficult to fight the disease. Researchers who were working on a new form of medical imaging may have discovered a way to fight against such resistance.
The new imaging technology involves fluorescent labeling which effectively color codes different parts of the infection to reveal weak points to attack. By attacking these weak points, the infections would be left more vulnerable to antibiotics, which could then be used to finish off the disease.
Almost all diseases of this sort grow together in communities, and by observing the communities using this new technology, researchers hope to find how to break those communities down, thus weakening the disease. This imaging is combined with ultra magnification to see the process at the lowest level. It is kind of like using Google street view, but instead of observing a town of people, doctors can look at a town of infectious disease. It is hoped that this will open up a whole new world of ideas on how to fight these infections.
Getting together in communities is a survival tactic for bacteria, and scientists are discovering that most forms of bacteria do this. It is what makes them resistant to antibiotics. Often, a disease seems to have been cured by such medicine, but then recurs. This is because the antibiotics have only treated bacteria that has left the home community and caused a more acute reaction. The biofilm, however, is untouched by the disease, and more intruders may venture out to cause a reaction again at any time.
Researchers were able to use new imaging methods to actually observe such a colony forming. Once the disease fastened itself to a location, it began to divide. Each cell that it multiplied into would in turn be connected via the same adhesive. Before long, it was an entire community of bacteria, latched on tight. One suggestion on how to fight diseases that act like this is to find medicine that will dissolve the adhesive and separate the infection from its home.
More applications of this imaging technology are being explored.