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Blinking Bacteria Could Lead to Body-Controlled, Time-Released Drugs

What do a bunch of fluorescent, blinking bacteria mean for your health? Surprisingly enough, it's good news. According to PopSci, a new discovery made by scientists at the University of California at San Diego could lead to time-released medications controlled by your body's biological feedback.

Basically, the scientists use a phenomena called quorum sensing to get a colony of E. coli to read the gene for fluorescent dye. During this process, the bacteria exchange small molecules with each other, which regulates conditions and creates a blinking, clock-like effect (see the video after the break). Once this is achieved, scientists can alter factors like pH and temperature, and force the bacteria to react in a certain way at set time intervals.

Still confused about what all this means? Essentially, the scientists want to create bacteria that responds to changes within the body and accordingly releases chemical compounds, like medicine. For example, a diabetic person could eat a bacteria "yogurt" that would release insulin at the appropriate time, rather than inject the drug himself or herself.

This is huge news for people with chronic illnesses. Not only would these helpful bacteria make life easier, they'd make the treatment more efficient by releasing the drug at the exact moment it's most needed. [From: PopSci, via: Notcot]

Tags: bacteria, drugs, e.coli, health, medicine, research, science, top, university of california at san diego, UniversityOfCaliforniaAtSanDiego