Every woman I know has a squirt bottle of hand sanitizer, there are ad campaigns about washing your hand, and Lysol is never not in my kitchen. So much effort to get rid of bacteria. But what if we started using them for good, in the fight against cancer?
In a recent article in the journal PLoS ONE, a group led by Dr. Mark Tangney, of University College Cork in Ireland, has reported the use of genetically engineered bacteria being used to develop better tumor imaging techniques.
Image taken from Phillip and Samayoa, et. al. 2011
In the spirit of the bright lights and big ideas of the new year, I thought I would share a pretty cool story of ingenious genetic engineering published a few weeks ago in Nature.
A team led by Arthur Prindle and Phillip Samayoa in the lab of Jeff Hasty at UC San Diego has created a network to make bacteria synchronously glow like so many twinkling Christmas lights. (Image shows a still photo of one of these chips.) Continue reading →
I’m sure we are all quite familiar with the story of the Trojan War. The King of Troy falls in love with the fair Helen of Sparta and steals her away from her husband, only to have his city attacked by the Greeks. If not that, at least we all know of the famous Trojan Horse that ended said war. Presented to Troy as a sacred offering, the giant hollow horse was in fact filled with soldiers that would be the downfall of the city of Troy once they brought it within their city gates.
And so from a battle over a beautiful ladies, scientists now employ a similar measure in the battle to save all of our present day lovely ladies. Dr. David Ateh and colleagues at Queen Mary, University of London have recently published work in Biomaterialsdescribing their efforts to trick cancer cells into accepting small, drug filled particles in order to combat tumor growth.
What you may not realize about scientific research is how often it doesn’t work. Wonder why we don’t have a cure for some disease faster? Well, if anyone else’s work is similar to mine, it’s because one experiment may give meaningful data for every 10 you try. What’s the definition of insanity again? Oh, yeah – doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. As you may be able to tell, I’ve been spending a fair bit of time lately banning my head against the lab wall trying to overcome some trials, which is mostly why the posts have been a bit sparse here lately.
Enough whining from me though – it’s nice to see someone else’s work actually working out for them these days. As originally reported by Heidi Ledford on Nature News, Seattle Genetics and its President, Clay Siegall, were just awarded approval from the FDA for their antibody-drug conjugate, Adcetris. This is literally a heat-seeking missile capable of sniffing out cancer cells and delivering a toxic payload.