This research for a broad-spectrum antimicrobial coating was first sparked off by Prof Chan wanting to find an effective way to combat bacteria and fungi on contact lenses which could cause corneal infections (microbial keratitis) that could lead to permanent visual damage.
According to a 2006 study, the estimated annual incidence of a common fungi corneal infection, Fusarium keratitis, related to contact lens wear in Singapore is 2.35 per 10,000 wearers.
Building on the success of the antibacterial coating, Prof Chan and her doctoral student, Mr Li Peng, have now succeeded in making another broad-spectrum antimicrobial solution of a similar kind which is highly selective, killing off only bacteria and fungi without harming human cells In vitro.
Their research was published recently in a leading journal, Advanced Materials. This liquid material based on cationic antimicrobial peptidopolysaccharide, is a polymer which is attracted to microbial cell walls. When the two come into contact, the integrity of the cell wall is disrupted which leads to its rupture and death.
As this novel material kills cells via the destruction of cell walls, it makes it extremely difficult for bacteria to develop an effective resistance.
Prof Chan hopes to further develop this solution into topical applications such as cream and lotions, which can be used to disinfect and treat serious or chronic wounds such as lesions suffered by diabetic patients, killing any bacteria present that are resistant to antibiotics.
"Our long term goal is to develop this into an ingestible form, so it can effectively treat bacterial infections within the body, su
|Contact: Lester Kok|
Nanyang Technological University