NanoPolymers Lower Antibiotic Toxicity

By: Pharma Tips | Views: 4280 | Date: 26-Jul-2011

Could give treatment options for resistant bacteriaNEW research at the UK’s University of Cardiff could lead to a way to lower the toxicity of antibiotics active against resistant bacteria but currently also dangerous to patients.

Could give treatment options for resistant bacteria

NEW research at the UK’s University of Cardiff could lead to a way to lower the toxicity of antibiotics active against resistant bacteria but currently also dangerous to patients.

The antibiotic colistin is toxic to nerves and kidneys in humans so its use is limited, but has been shown to be particularly effective against multiple drug resistant strains of bacteria such as those containing the NDM-1 enzyme. Elaine Ferguson and her team from Cardiff’s School of Dentistry now believe they have found a way around this problem.

The researchers coated colistin with nanoparticles of dextrin, a biodegradable polymer derived from corn starch, in a chemical reaction lasting around two hours. Ferguson told  tce  that the polymer can be modified to control the rate of degradation.

The coating increases the size of the antibiotic, which causes the antibiotic particles to accumulate at sites of infection due to the inflammation, which allows accumulation of larger molecules. An enzyme called amylase, which breaks down dextrin, is found at higher concentrations in areas of infection, and is produced by some types of bacteria. This means that the action of dextrin-coated antibiotics is more targeted, as the coating would break down much more slowly in areas without infection.

Interestingly, the method could also have oncological applications as amylase is also found at higher concentrations in cancer tumors.
Colistin has been used as the team’s proof of concept model but they are trying out the technique with other drugs. Ferguson said that a patent had been filed on the technology but as this has yet to go through, the research has not yet been published. It has, however, been presented at two conferences, the European Science Foundation Forward Look on Nanomedicine, and the European Science Foundation Summer School on Nanomedicine, as well as some local meetings, and will be presented at two further conferences in September in Chicago, US, and Sheffield, UK.

“The technology we’ve developed came as a direct response to an urgent medical need for better antibiotics to safely treat patients with life threatening infections. Very few new antimicrobial drugs have emerged despite intensive research, with only two new classes of antibiotics developed in the last 30 years,” said Ferguson. “Our new approach allows existing effective therapies to be improved to help patients with severe infections who may otherwise suffer significant side effects after treatment.”


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