Candida growth is often the cause of misery for many people, particularly women who have to deal with recurring yeast infections on a regular basis. For people who have compromised immune systems, controlling the Candida fungus can be difficult because it is naturally occurring on the skin. However, a breakthrough at a U.S. technology school opens the door for better control of Candida.
Technology and Biology
The Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has discovered a method to create new anti-fungal treatments as many of the more common anti-fungal therapies are ineffective against the Candida albicans strain. The reason for this is interesting even to the layperson. Candida albicans makes a copy of itself, so while drugs are developed to use against it, the initial treatment shows progress – until the copy appears and puts the patient back to square one.
A Potential Knockout Punch
With the unlocking of the genetic code of Candida albicans, drugs can be created that will neutralize the essential parts of the DNA and prevent it from reproducing to a second copy. The general line of thinking is that you first prevent it from copying itself, then move to the second step of killing the fungus. It sounds simple enough, but until the discovery there was no way to approach the first step.
The technology used allows scientists to “edit” specific parts of the gene. Much like editing a document, the idea is to change the parts pof the document that you do not want. In the case of genetic engineering, specific chromosomes are changed preventing the cell from reproducing. Of course, this editing needs to be managed properly so the treatment does not edit all the Candida albicans cells.
This is one of the wonders of technology, and how complex yet simple discovering solutions to such common problems as yeast infections can be. Knowing a little science can be very empowering.