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Candida albicans: The Jekyll and Hyde of pathogens

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Candida albicans is one of the most common pathogens responsible for yeast infections and while it normally exists in a benign form and is easily treated, it can become deadly. In fact, Maho Uchida, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, says it's considered to be like Jekyll and Hyde.

Uchida:          They exhibit three different phenotype. One is pathogenic and the second type is germative and the third type that is very highly invasive structure called hypha. That's a really bad type and it could cause fungal infections such as yeast infection and it could be pretty dramatically could lead to death in the immune-compromised patients who have been through chemotherapy or people who have AIDS.

Narrator:       Uchida and her colleagues are using a high-powered microscope at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to see well inside the structure of these cells and found that a new type of synthetic antibiotic called peptoids can treat this drug-resistant, invasive form of Candida. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.