Chemists at IBM Research in Almaden, California had previously been looking for a way of performing microscopic etching on silicon wafers at a far smaller scale than was currently possible. In the course of their research, they identified materials that would produce an electrostatic charge when chained together to form a polymer.
While this polymer worked for its intended purpose, the chemists were curious as to whether it could have other applications. This resulted in the creation of what they've dubbed “ninja polymers.” When their components are introduced to the bloodstream (or water), they self-assemble into biocompatible nanostructures – the ninjas – that are electrostatically drawn to infected cells while not affecting healthy ones. Upon reaching the infected cells, they destroy the bacteria, and then subsequently biodegrade. This reportedly results in no side effects or accumulation in the body.
Gizmag (credit to Jon Reed for pointing out)
Photo of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus that the polymers may be effective against