Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the UCLA School of Dentistry have come up with a way to efficiently kill harmful bacteria while leaving helpful bacteria intact. Wenyuan Shi, a professor of oral biology, says potentially treating tooth decay and periodontal disease with their method, called Specific Targeted Anti-Microbial Peptide, or STAMP, is just a first step.
Shi: Actually, the similar problem covers all our bodies – and whether it's a vaginal infection, nasal infection, cystic fibrosis in the respiratory tract and a lot of the digestive tract. All this we medically call mucosal surface. You have existing bacterial population there and you always want building up normal flora. But not always the flora is normal; often you have a pathogen in there that causes disease. And right now, just like in dentistry, we rely on the general antimicrobials to control those problems and they often lead us to the same problem – it kills the good and the bad bacteria at the same time.Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.