Deus ex machina (Part 3): DNA Gold Nanoparticles

Dr. Chad Mirkin
Yesterday, NPR's Science Friday had a discussion of a novel antimicrobial based a platform of spherical nucleic acids that have been developed at Northwestern. Dr. Chad Mirkin, director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University, discussed the possibility that DNA or RNA gold nanoparticles could be designed to invade bacterial cells and "either turn off resistance so that a conventional antibiotic will work or, better yet, stop replication and ultimately cause bacterial cell death." Sounds pretty exciting and human trials are expected soon.

The most important thing mentioned was that DARPA, the research arm of the Defense Department, has called for development of new, next-generation antibiotics.  You can see by the host Ira Flatow's comments (quotes below) that he is perplexed as to why the Defense Department is leading the charge.

FLATOW: "And why is it that DARPA has to jump in here? What's wrong with our own medical system?"

FLATOW: "So what you're saying is that the people are willing to spend money on the military to do this where they might not in the civilian case."

Transcript: Hitting The 'Off' Switch On Antibiotic Resistance

Listen to the program (NPR 12/2/2011)


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