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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Laser Light can Kill Viruses

A study by Kong-Thon Tsen of Arizona State University along with researchers at Johns Hopkins University shows how strong blasts of visible light from a low-power laser can kill viruses. The laser technique appears to be more successful than other methods at killing viruses, while also posing less harm to healthy tissue.

In their study, the researchers blasted a virus with a quick pulse of purple laser light. The laser, which only shines for 100 femtoseconds (a femtosecond is one millionth of a billionth of a second), causes the virus's capsid (its outer shell) to vibrate and become damaged. Essentially, the virus becomes "deactivated" while the area around the virus remains unharmed. The treatment doesn't cause viruses to mutate either, which is a problem in other virus treatments and can lead to viral resistance.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Low cost production of Taxol (Anticancer Drug) in E.coli

Researchers from the Tufts University School of Engineering and  collaborators from MIT  have now engineered E. coli bacteria to produce large quantities of a critical compound that is a precursor to the cancer drug Taxol, originally isolated from the bark of the Pacific yew tree. The tree's bacteria can produce 1,000 times more of the precursor, known as taxadiene, than any other engineered microbial strain.

This would bring down the cost of taxol, which is used as anticancer drug against lung, ovarian and breast cancer