Show Details

Microscopic Roundup

April 15, 2011

Genetically engineered bacteria could help ferry drugs to where they’re needed most in the body.



Biological blimps. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Some medicines are made by genetically modified bacteria, whose genes have been altered to produce drugs. The drugs are then purified and turned into pills. But now a new delivery system turns the modified bacteria themselves into smart pills that can go into the human body and travel to wherever the drug is needed. Bioengineer William Bentley at the University of Maryland calls them bacterial dirigibles, because they look like tiny blimps. He says that the bacteria could be deployed to attack particular pathogens or treat precise areas of the body.

In other news, researchers in India report developing electronic devices called memristors out of blood. Memristors can be used as transistors or memory cells in computers. The researchers plan to make tiny blood memristors to see if they can be useful as a practical electronic component. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.