News FocusMicrobiology

Forging a Link Between Biofilms and Disease

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Science  19 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5409, pp. 1837-1839
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5409.1837

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The sticky conglomerations of bacteria known as biofilms are being linked to common human diseases ranging from tooth decay to prostatitis and kidney infections. Aided by support from a new program at the National Institutes of Health, researchers are now working to understand how and why biofilms form. The goal is to identify their Achilles' heel and devise better treatments, which are badly needed, because bacteria sequestered in biofilms are shielded from attack by the host's immune system and are often much harder to kill with antibiotics than their free-floating counterparts.