GE Healthcare Technology Brings Hope in the Fight Against Bacterial Disease
13 Sep 2012

GE Healthcare’s super-resolution microscope technology is giving Australian researchers new insights into the process of bacterial cell division, which may ultimately help in the quest to find novel antibiotics. Scientists at the ithree Research Institute at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have used GE’s DeltaVision OMX BLAZE™ to obtain a detailed picture of the main protein that controls cell division in bacteria (1).

According to the scientists at UTS, this discovery could be the starting point for the development a new generation of antibiotics that target the cell division process. Professor Liz Harry, leader of the team that made the discovery, explained that, "Cell division is a process that has not been targeted by antibiotics to date – and so there are a range of possibilities in how antibiotics could be developed to kill bacteria by inhibiting cell division.”

The implications for the discovery by UTS are significant. Antibiotic resistance is an increasing problem worldwide and in March 2012 Dr Margaret Chen, Director-General of the World Health Organization, highlighted the issue as a “serious, growing, and global threat to health.”

Dr Amr Abid, General Manager of Cell Technologies, GE Healthcare Life Sciences said, “I am delighted that GE technology has helped the team at UTS to make this great discovery. What has been announced today will support the development of new therapies for fighting the global and dangerous threat of bacterial resistance to existing drugs. Understanding the cell through live imaging and OMX Blaze technologies is, I believe, going to bring benefits in the fight against all sorts of diseases. We are only at the beginning of what this technology can do.”

Commenting on the discovery Professor Harry said, "The use of OMX Blaze has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for biology research, starting with what we have discovered here.”

GE Healthcare launched the DeltaVision OMX Blaze in November 2011, with the first commercial installation being made at UTS. The technology allows researchers to follow tagged proteins in a living cell at near molecular resolution, making it possible to start answering new kinds of research questions about how certain structures in cells behave, what they interact with and how long the events last. At the launch, Paul Goodwin, Director of Advanced Application at Applied Precision (a GE Healthcare company) explained “It’s a pretty extraordinary feeling to see moving images of live cells at a greater level of detail than anyone has witnessed before.”

Researchers at the UC Davis-based Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology (CBST) collaborated early as beta testers for the technology. DeltaVision OMX Blaze™ is for Research only - it is not a registered Medical Device.

(1) Strauss, M. P., Liew, A. T. F., Turnbull, L., Whitchurch, C. B., Monahan, L. G. and Harry, E. J. (2012). 3D-SIM super resolution microscopy reveals a bead-like arrangement for FtsZ and the division machinery: Implications for triggering cytokinesis. PLOS Biol., 10

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