Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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What's Eating You?
19 August 2016

What's Eating You?

Necrotising fasciitis is a life-threatening condition in which bacteria eat away at human flesh. These pieces of artificial skin were grown in a lab then infected with bacteria from four different patients. Just two days later they are overgrown with biofilms – slimy organic mixtures that are hard to tackle with medicine. These biofilms combine necrotising fasciitis-causing bacteria (highlighted in white) with a sludge of fats, DNA and even natural polymers (red, blue and green, respectively). Investigating how these elements come together could be vital to tackling necrotising fasciitis before biofilms have a chance to form. Although the disease is rare, it can develop quickly through soft tissues and usually affects young, otherwise healthy people.

Written by John Ankers

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