Northwestern University Exposing Most Deadly Infectious Diseases In 3-D
11/1/2007 8:04:23 AM
CHICAGO --- A scientist slides on a pair of plastic 3-D glasses and an unearthly blue multi-armed creature -- an image right out of a sci-fi horror flick -- seems to leap out of the computer screen into the laboratory. But this is no movie director's fantasy. The horror image is real. The eerie "creature" is from the deadly anthrax bacteria -- specifically one of its proteins. Scientists at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine are mapping parts of the lethal bacteria in three dimensions, exposing a new and intimate chemical portrait of the biological killer down to its very atoms. This view of the disease will offer scientists who design drugs a fresh opening into the bacteria’s vulnerabilities, and thus enable them to create drugs to disable it or vaccines to prevent it.