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Novel nanotechnology heals abscesses caused by resistant staph bacteria

December 22, 2009 (BRONX, NY) Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have developed a new approach for treating and healing skin abscesses caused by bacteria resistant to most antibiotics. The study appears in the journal PLoS One.

Abscesses are deep skin infections that often resist antibiotics and may require surgical drainage. For their new treatment strategy, the Einstein scientists developed tiny nanoparticles smaller than a grain of pollen that carry nitric oxide (NO), a gas that helps in the body's natural immune response to infection.

When topically applied to abscesses in mice, the particles released NO that traveled deep into the skin, clearing up the infections and helping to heal tissue.

"Our work shows that nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles developed here at Einstein can effectively treat experimental skin abscesses caused by antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, even without surgical drainage," says Joshua D. Nosanchuk, M.D., senior author of the study and associate professor of medicine and of microbiology & immunology.

"This is important," he notes, "because several million people are treated for staph infections every year in the U.S. Increasingly, these infections are caused by methicillin-resistant Staph aureus or MRSA the serious and potentially fatal "superbug" that we tackled in this study."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 94,000 cases of invasive MRSA infections occur each year, resulting in 19,000 deaths. In a 2006 study involving multiple emergency rooms across the U.S., MRSA was isolated from 61 percent of abscesses.

"To have a topical medication for staph infections instead of one that you have to take orally and systemically would revolutionize the way we take care of our patients," Dr. Nosanchuk adds.

In research published earlier this year in the Journal of

Contact: Deirdre Branley
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

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