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Scientists leverage the power of shockwaves and antibiotics to treat bacterial infections

Many lifesaving medical devices such as urinary catheters, pacemakers, intrauterine devices and voice prosthesis, which are usually inserted into some part of the body, are plagued by a common problem – ‘bacterial biofilms’. These ‘biofilms’ grow on the surfaces of these devices and may cause infections. They are harder to treat than individual bacteria and need about 1000 – 10000 times stronger dose of antibiotics. But this may no longer be the case, as a group of scientists led by Prof. Dipshikha Chakravortty and Prof. Jagadeesh Gopalan from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have found a novel method to fight biofilm infections.


A Foe of my Foe is a Friend - Employing bacteria to fight cancer

But how do bacteria fight against tumours? The answer lies in the environment the tumour creates during its growth. A tumour, by definition, is a mass of cells that have divided in an uncontrolled, abnormal manner without respecting the normal boundaries. Bacteria are known to modulate our immune defence system and strengthen it to fight against tumour cells. Bacteria activate our immune systems and provide an environment for the production of T cells, a type of lymphocyte, that displays greater ability to specifically recognize and act against tumour cells.