23rd January 2013
Leprosy has plagued humans for thousands of years, but that doesn’t mean it has revealed all of its secrets. A new study in mice suggests the disfiguring disease employs a bit of biological trickery to do its damage: It reprograms certain nerve cells to become like stem cells and uses them to infiltrate the body’s muscle and nervous systems. This is the first time that scientists have seen bacteria reprogram cells in this way, and experts say the find could lead to the development of new treatments for leprosy and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Just in case you were wondering. I know I was.