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Novel therapy shows promise as an antibacterial agent

This is Science Today. Novel light-sensitive compounds that show promise for cancer therapy, may also be used as antibacterial agents. Chemist Pradip Mascharak of the University of California, Santa Cruz is using wavelengths of light to trigger cells to release nitric oxide, or NO, which in turn triggers cell death.

Mascharak:    Some of these compounds, I think, will also be good for just antibacterial agents in certain areas. So, it's not only that we are focusing on cancer cells. We are are now also interested to use them as a kind of antibiotic effect.

Narrator:       Mascharak says an advantage of using nitric oxide would be when dealing with treating a pathogen that is an antibiotic resistant variety.

Mascharak:    People have used nitric oxide gas sometimes to use on infected areas and kill pathogens. But we are trying to use it in a very selective way, like a small Band-Aid or a bandage type of a wrap and then you basically use light and give NO to the right place.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.