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Nanotechnology May Hold Key to Fighting Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

     Researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a new therapeutic approach to fighting anti-biotic-resistant infections.  News.UARK.edu reported that because of nanotechnology two professors, chemist, Jingyi Chen and microbiologist, Mark Smeltzer were able to experiment using a light-activated nanodrug which is essentially an antibiotic that is put into a polydopamine coating.  The process creates a minute gold nanocage which ranges in size from 10 to over 150 nm (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter).  The nanocages were used by the researchers to convert laser irradiation to heat which allowed the drug to be released from the coating.  This new breakthrough could mean the treatment of infections caused by these antibiotic resistant bacteria, a problem that has been plaguing public health for some time and just keeps growing.   The Infectious Disease Society of America has named six bacterial species as “ESKAPE pathogens” – Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter species.   According to Smeltzer 80% of bacterial infections form a biofilm and they all share the characteristic of intrinsic resistance to antibiotics.  The term intrinsic resistance refers to the fact that the bacteria in the biofilm is resistant to conventional antibiotics.  The researchers used the Staphylococcus aureus strain to provide evidence for the potency of their new nanodrug.  The method they used showed to be effective against both the antibiotic resistant bacteria and the nonresistant strains.  Smeltzer says, “The even better news is that the technology we developed would be readily adaptable to the other bacterial pathogens that cause such infections, including the other “ESKAPE pathogens”.        


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