If commercially manufactured, these biodegradable nanostructures could be injected directly into the body or applied topically to the skin, treating skin infections through consumer products such as: deodorant, soap, hand sanitizer, table wipes and preservatives, as well as be used to help heal wounds, tuberculosis and lung infections.
"Using our novel nanostructures, we can offer a viable therapeutic solution for the treatment of MRSA and other infectious diseases. This exciting discovery effectively integrates our capabilities in biomedical sciences and materials research to address key issues in conventional drug delivery," said Dr. Yiyan Yang, Group Leader, Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, Singapore.
How it Works
The human body's immune system is designed to protect us from harmful substances, both inside and out. For a variety of reasons, many of today's conventional antibiotics are either rejected by the body or have a limited success rate in treating drug-resistant bacteria. The antimicrobial agents developed by IBM Research and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology are specifically designed to target an infected area to allow for a systemic delivery of the drug.
Once these polymers come into contact with water in or on the body, they self assemble into a new polymer structure that is designed to target bacteria membranes based on electrostatic interaction and break through their cell membranes and walls. The physical nature of this action prevents bacteria from developing resistance to these nanoparticles.
The electric charge naturally found in cells is important because the new polymer structures are attracted only to the infecte
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