Fighting superbugs with their own 'gene-editing' system

September 23, 2014 10:17 AM

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Fighting superbugs with their own 'gene-editing' system

Writing in Nature Biotechnology, Timothy Lu, an associate professor of biological engineering and electrical engineering and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and colleagues explain how they used CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) - a gene-editing system that bacteria use to defend against virus attack - to target the superbugs themselves.

Most antibiotics work by disrupting essential bacterial processes like cell division and protein synthesis. But superbugs like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) have acquired genes that make them virtually untreatable with drugs that...

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