Researchers at Tufts University have found a new way to clear toxins from the human body, according to a study published in PLoS ONE.
The toxins often are produced by foodborne bacteria such as E.coli, certain strains of which produce Shiga toxin, and environmental bacteria, such as Clostridium botulinum, both of which can cause severe damage to internal organs.
In these cases, it’s not the bacteria that cause the damage but rather the toxins they produce.
The new treatment, developed by researchers at the Tufts University Cumming School of Veterinary Medicine, uses a single “targeting agent” which binds to the toxin in several places making it easier to flush the toxin from the body.
The new method reportedly is cheaper and poses less risk for side effects than current treatment methods.
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) have been the focus of major legislation recently. Beginning June 4, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service began testing raw beef trimmings for six additional strains of STECs in addition to E. coli O157:H7, the most common cause of E. coli-related illness.
One of the STECs – E.coli O145 – is responsible for sickening 14 people across six states and the death of a 21-month-old child in Louisiana earlier this year.
Read the full study here.