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Bacteria on medical implants can be highly resistant to antibiotics and account for a large proportion of hospital-acquired infections.

Researchers have created the first “living medicine” to treat bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics and grows on the surface of medical implants.

For the experimental treatment, experts genetically removed the bacteria’s ability to cause disease and forced it to attack harmful microbes instead.

Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and Pulmobiotics SL in Barcelona said their findings are an important first step in the development of treatments for infections on medical implants such as catheters, pacemakers and prosthetic joints.

These bacteria can be highly resistant to antibiotics and account for a large proportion of hospital-acquired infections.

The study, published in the journal Molecular Systems Biology and supported by funding from bodies including the European Research Council, tested the new medicine on infected catheters, including in mice.

Bacteria are ideal vehicles for ‘living medicine’ because they can carry any given therapeutic protein to treat the source of a disease

Evening Standard by Jane Kirby