Slower nanotech delivery system could stymie infections

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A new way to deliver antimicrobial agents—drugs, antiseptics, or pesticides—could offer a more effective way to treat or prevent bacterial infections, researchers say.

As reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, researchers synthesized nanostructured silica particles, considered to be promising drug carriers, that contained payloads of an antimicrobial agent. The researchers discovered the particles were effective at killing two human bacterial pathogens.

“Interestingly, the particles were more effective at killing the bacteria than the antimicrobial was, which may highlight a more efficient mechanism for drug delivery,” says Jeffrey Boyd an associate professor in the biochemistry and microbiology department at Rutgers University.

Bacteria are rapidly evolving and becoming resistant to antimicrobials—agents that kill or prevent the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi, Boyd says. The new findings could help researchers develop an antimicrobial therapy that would prevent bacterial infections or the growth of bacteria in unwanted locations.

This new mechanism allows compounds to slowly release antimicrobials into local environments, resulting in high amounts of the molecule in a specific location. This is a different scenario than when patients take antibiotics orally and they become widely distributed throughout the body.

“The new materials we have designed and built allow antibacterials to be more potent and have the ability to wipe out bacteria at smaller concentrations than the antibacterials can do on their own,” says Tewodros Asefa, a professor in the chemistry and chemical biology and the chemical and biochemical engineering departments.

“This is because the newly designed nanomaterials allow the antibacterials to be localized, released slowly, and attack the microorganism more effectively,” Asefa says.

The findings could lead to the development of new microscopic particles containing drugs, antiseptics, or pesticides that may increase the effectiveness of the therapy and help prevent antibacterial resistance.

What researchers still need to determine is why these microscopic particles containing the antibacterial agents are more effective at destroying the bacteria than the antibacterial alone.

Source: Rutgers University