Bio-nano robot will help end the antibiotic resistance crisis

Antibiotic resistance is a serious problem for humanity. Before the 1970s, bacterial infections were easily treated with a single antibiotic dose.

They are assembled from synthetic DNA and protein, so they can kill resistant bacteria.

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Antibiotic resistance is a serious problem for humanity. Before the 1970s, bacterial infections were easily treated with a single antibiotic dose. However, up to now, many types of treatment are available.

Doctors are left with patients, but in their hands there are very few alternative antibiotic treatment options. Usually, multidrug-resistant infections will make the doctor give up. The death of the patient is unavoidable.

As predicted by large-scale studies, without new methods to combat resistant bacteria, infections could kill about 10 million people by 2050. September 2016, the UN officially Recognition of antibiotic resistance is a global problem.

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In 2016, the United Nations called antibiotic resistance a global threat.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called antibiotic resistance "a fundamental and long-term threat to human health". In response to this, governments have increased funding for anti-antibiotic resistance measures, including testing new drugs and studying microorganisms.

Immediately following the September meeting of the United Nations, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it had funded more than $ 14 million for new approaches to fight bacteria. antibiotic resistance.

In it, researchers began to look at synthetic biology as a new approach to fight bacteria. By synthesizing their own bacteria, researchers can provide a targeted solution for deadly bacteria, which traditional antibiotics are increasingly unable to do.

Eligo Bioscience , a French start-up company is creating "bio-nano robots" to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Nano robots are assembled from synthetic DNA and proteins, allowing them to target precisely resistant bacteria.

Synthetic biology

On the human body there are both good bacteria and bad bacteria . Therefore, each type of antibiotic should only be designed to fight the bacteria that are causing the problem. Unfortunately, most of our traditional antibiotics wipe out all bacteria - even good bacteria are protecting us.

Good bacteria help inhibit the growth of bad bacteria. Simply because if good bacteria develop and compete for territory and nutrients, bad bacteria populations will be kept under control and cannot grow.

The opposite happens in the scenario that good bacteria are wiped out by antibiotics, while some bad bacteria are resistant to medication. Then, bad bacteria will thrive again and there is no control over them.

Intestinal infections caused by Clostridium difficile or overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria are health problems caused by this cause, when the bacteria are killed.

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Most current traditional antibiotics will kill both bad bacteria and good bacteria.

Overcoming the disadvantages of traditional antibiotics, Eligo brings a new approach. They find ways to only kill the pathogenic bacteria, targeting their DNA with the accuracy of the sniper instead of a traditional antibiotic bombing.

Xavier Duportet, CEO of Eligo, said patients will eat nano robots into the gastrointestinal tract. Robots will not work until they reach the gut. Here, nano-robots will use enzymes generated from modified genes to scan bacterial DNA.

Once the nano robot finds the pathogenic bacteria, it will destroy them by cutting the target gene, making it difficult for bacteria to repair, but all good bacteria that don't carry the target gene will not be affected. The nano robot then becomes a healthy part of the microbiota, helping to prevent future attacks from the target bacteria.

If Eligo's nano robots can target some harmful bacteria, the company can avoid the financial trap that many pharmaceutical companies are falling into when trying to develop new antibiotics, Still destroying a broad spectrum of bacteria like traditional antibiotics.

"Currently, it will be very difficult to make money from antibiotics because of the principle that we must have a more precise antibiotic that will not kill a lot of bacteria," Duportet explained.

'Even if you can do that, your new drug will not be used as a universal antibiotic. It can only be used for the last case, when other antibiotics have become ineffective. It is an extremely small market and no one is willing to pay for it. "

Eligo drugs, on the other hand, can become the first preferred drug. It can even be used before the patient is sick to prevent it. Duportet said: "It can be used as a prophylactic drug, removing all antibiotic resistant bacteria from a person before they become ill."

In addition, nano robots can also be used in many other areas, such as in hospitals. Surgeons are often quite cautious with patients who carry antibiotic resistant bacteria. Although these bacteria are not yet causing illness, their occurrence leaves a risk of postoperative infection. Eligo's nano robot is capable of killing these bacteria, reducing the risk for patients during surgery.

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The new drug Eligo is developing is likely to target the right bacteria.

Timothy Lu is a professor of biological engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is very impressed with what Eligo has done so far. Both in the laboratory environment and in living organisms, Eligo's technology has shown it can kill bacteria like what the company claims, Professor Timothy Lu said.

However, he also acknowledged that Eligo will face challenges in bringing its technology to reality, coming to clinics. Professor Lu's biggest challenge is "optimizing the delivery of human therapies".

That is, how can Eligo ensure their nano robots are inserted into the gut and perform their work there? The company still hasn't solved that problem. To do so, Eligo will at least take several years of research.

Future

Last September, the company was invested $ 20 million for the next research phase. Researchers are very happy when they know they will keep moving forward, Duportet said.

"We trust because we have really good data from animal tests ," he said, adding that if many animal tests are going well, the next step will be to test the robots. people, what the company hopes to do by 2020.

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Team of researchers and staff at Eligo.

However, the road to an approval for this therapy may be quite long; Duportet cannot give a prediction, when Eligo's nano robot is widely used.

But suppose that the development of synthetic biology can help the Eligo work progress strongly."Synthetic biology is really becoming a big industry. It may be a long time before we can see Eligo's therapy in local hospitals. However, biology. Synthesis has given us a promise to face antibiotic-resistant bacteria ".