View all News & Blog posts »
View all projects »
View all publications »
Interactive data visualizations of antibiotic use and resistance in North America and Europe
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has put out a call for research to develop a novel kind of bacteria-fighting mechanism, and it was the focus of the most recent Science Friday. It’s nanotechnology’s response to antibiotic resistance, and it involves little bits of RNA, attached to nanoparticles, that can “turn off” antibiotic resistance within bacterial cells or stop replication.
The advantage, as nanotechnologist Chad Mirkin points out on Science Friday, is that the genetically based model “moves with the bug,” and can be programmed “on the fly,” making the mechanism widely adaptable to a range of infections. If successful, the small interfering RNA (siRNA) could be utilized as antibiotic co-therapies, or perhaps even replace antibiotics altogether. If all goes well with the research, according to Mirkin, they’ll enter human trials next year.
As Katie Drummond of the Danger Room explains, the proposal may be a long shot, but it’s not without precedent. A 2010 study in the Lancet documented the use of siRNA particles to successfully combat Ebola virus in 4 rhesus monkeys.
Science Friday: Hitting the "Off" Switch on Antibiotic Resistance
The Danger Room: Darpa: Do Away With Antibiotics, Then Destroy All Pathogens
Genomics, Evolution and Pseudoscience: A breakthrough cure for Ebola
Image credit: iStock