When scientists find that a drug can halt the spread of a deadly disease like cancer, they turn to the latest and greatest technology.
But some researchers are trying to make drugs that will work in a more natural way.
The latest breakthrough comes from the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with a biotech company.
The researchers created a drug that mimics the actions of natural microbes to stop the spread and kill the cells it targets.
The researchers found that they could target just one type of bacterium, a fungus called Bacteroides fragilis, that causes the disease.
By blocking the cell’s ability to make its own proteins, the researchers were able to prevent the fungus from spreading.
The team is currently testing its drug in mice.
They believe it will be effective in people as soon as 2019.
The new drug could have important implications for many diseases.
For instance, it could help treat cancer.
“If you want to treat a cancer, you need to be able to target that cancer,” says senior author Shilpa Srinivasan.
The scientists are now looking at other microbes that could be targeted to control the spread, such as B. burgdorferi, which causes skin cancer.
And the new drug will also help to stop another deadly disease, cancer of the brain.
“This drug has great potential for treating Alzheimer’s disease, but it has other potential in treating cancer of other organs,” says Srinivasan.
The discovery could also help doctors make more efficient use of antibiotics.
In a recent study, Srinvasan and his colleagues showed that by preventing the spread in B. fragilistes, they could prevent the spread to other bacteria.
That could allow doctors to treat the bacteria earlier, which would help save money.
The discovery could be a game changer for drugs for infectious diseases, says Shilpreet Singh, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University at Buffalo.
Singh, who was not involved in the work, says it’s important to recognize that many pathogens are also capable of spreading to human cells.
“We’re in an era where we can detect disease spread from microbes,” he says.
In addition to the UC Berkeley researchers, a team led by Srinviasan is now looking into how to target other types of bacteria.
That could help researchers develop drugs that target viruses and other life forms that can infect humans.
The work is still in its early stages, but the UC researchers are now working on a drug targeted to the coronavirus.