IBM Research has applied advanced knowledge of nano-technology acquired in designing and manufacturing semiconductors to address a serious medical problem — bacteria that have developed a resistance to antibiotics. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureas) bacteria pose a great danger to anyone infected. They are resistant to common treatments and they kill thousands each year. Since this bacteria evolves to resist antibiotics, they may also evolve to resist the more aggressive treatments as well.
IBM scientists tried a new angle of attack. Rather than developing more powerful antibiotics, they reasoned that a treatment could be devised to attack the bacteria using nano-technology to construct polymers designed for just this purpose:
The “Ninja Polymers” attack only the targeted bacteria and leave surrounding cells unharmed. They are both biocompatible and biodegradable. Furthemore, IBM scientists believe that this same technology could be used to improve cleaning agents that are both more effective in sanitizing hospitals, gyms and schools where MRSA bacteria are known to lurk — and also safer than current products that must be handled with care.
The short video below illustrates this new approach — and you can learn more about these staph-killing polymers on the IBM Research site.