Our immune system relies on nanomachines, such as the membrane attack complex (MAC) to kill invasive bacteria in our blood. Our research, published in the EMBO journal and Nature Communications, provides us with a better understanding of how the immune system kills bacteria. This may guide the development of new therapies that harness the immune system against bacterial infections, and strategies that repurpose the immune system to act against other rogue cells in the body.
New antibiotics are desperately needed: without them antimicrobial resistance is predicted to kill more people than cancer. An international collaboration between scientists at the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN), University of Oxford, IBM, STFC Daresbury Laboratory and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has shown that our own bodies may provide an answer.