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Apr 13, 2011 7:25 PM

Nanotech used to fight diseases

(NBC) - Technology and medicine are working together to fight diseases that are resistant to antibiotics. The technology is tiny particles 50,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. But what they do could be very big. They're particles created in a lab that you can't see without a powerful microscope.

But work being done here inside IBM's San Jose Research Center is turning tiny technology used for decades to make computer chips into a powerful way to fight back against disease.

An IBM spokesman said, "These things tenaciously attract to these superbugs and go in, we call them ninja particles, go in, latch on and stick them, go right through the superbug membrane and the guts just spill out."

That's what these Nano particles do to superbugs -- the kind doctors say are resistant to antibiotics. Dr. Jerina Kapoor, a pediatrician said, 'We see it so often now. I can tell you with pediatrics, with babies, children who are going to daycares, they do pick up resistant bugs."

But in tests, the IBM created particles beat back those disease, and as another benefit, are biodegradable, which means unlike antibiotics, they don't stay in your body.

So doctors are happy and scientists are encouraged. Who knew chip technology could someday save lives?

IBM stresses that this is still a work in progress. There is a lot of work and clinical trials to be done -- but it's encouraging.

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