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X-rays find weak spot in ulcer bacteria

Powerful X-rays have revealed a potential way to attack Helicobacter pylori, a stomach bacteria harbored by at least half the world’s population.

In 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.

Hundreds of millions of people who carry H. pylori 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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