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Stanford experiment finds ulcer bug's weak point

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SLAC's high-power X-rays have revealed a potential drug target in H. pylori, the ulcer-causing bacteria that infect half the world's population.

n 1982, Australian scientists extracted bacteria from a person's stomach, grew them in a petri dish and identified them as the cause of ulcers and gastritis. Three decades later, scientists have now used powerful X-rays at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford to reveal a potential way to attack the common stomach bacteria.

At least half the world's population carries the bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, and hundreds of millions suffer health problems that ultimately increase the odds of developing stomach cancer. Current treatments require a complicated regimen of stomach-acid inhibitors and antibiotics, the latter of which have the side effect of indiscriminately knocking out beneficial bacteria.

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