Biotechnology

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By K. Lerner, B. Lerner

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The remaining challenge is the immune system, which protects the body by fighting off bacteria and other substances that it sees as foreign. When the immune system detects something as foreign, it sends white blood cells called T-lymphocytes to attack it. The immune system usually considers a transplanted organ as foreign and tries to destroy it. This is called rejection. A person who rejects his or her new organ can become very sick and can even die. When people start taking anti-rejection drugs, they take them in very high doses.

The remaining challenge is the immune system, which protects the body by fighting off bacteria and other substances that it sees as foreign. When the immune system detects something as foreign, it sends white blood cells called T-lymphocytes to attack it. The immune system usually considers a transplanted organ as foreign and tries to destroy it. This is called rejection. A person who rejects his or her new organ can become very sick and can even die. When people start taking anti-rejection drugs, they take them in very high doses.

Enzymes can be different in different cells, such as bacteria and body cells, and still do the same job. Antibiotics interfere only with the kinds of enzymes that bacteria use. Development In the 1920s, a Scottish biologist named Sir Alexander Fleming (1881–1955) discovered that tears and sweat contain a substance he called lysozyme. Lysozyme slows bacterial growth, but is not strong enough to work as an antibiotic. In 1928, however, Fleming accidentally discovered that a kind of mold called Penicillium— which can grow on old bread—produces a substance that kills bacteria.

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