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January 4, 2011 / Martijn

Engineering viruses to destroy biofilms

At Harvard Medical School, many of Timothy Lu’s patients were being attacked by carpets of microbial goo. They had “really bad infections,” Lu says. “Patients with cystic fibrosis, people getting infections in their catheters. All caused by biofilms.” Lu, who is now an assistant professor at MIT, began researching how to destroy biofilms. But unlike those who had previously attacked the problem, he took advantage of the new tools of synthetic biology. He engineered a type of virus, known as a phage, to destroy biofilms and sabotage their defenses against antibiotics. His accomplishment could produce synthetic biology’s first big commercial success by attacking the biofilms that infest industrial equipment.

via http://www.technologyreview.com/tr35/Profile.aspx?Cand=T&TRID=967

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