A British nanotechnology company has created a potentially game-changing technology that aims to overcome the global threat of antibiotic resistance.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health. It can affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhoea, and food-borne diseases, have already become difficult and in sometimes impossible to treat as antibiotics become less effective.
Now researchers from AGA Nanotech ltd, working with University College London (UCL), say they have developed a unique alternative to antibiotics. They have enabled the safe and effective delivery of antimicrobial agents which do not give rise to resistance.
Borrowing approaches used in oncology, they have identified a means of delivering high energy oxidative molecules to the site of infection without harming the patient. In essence, they produce tiny particles using what they call a Thermally Induced Phase Separation (TIPS) technique, developed by Dr Richard Day at UCL. They then load these microparticles with an antimicrobial agent and deliver them straight to the site of infection.
The company’s current technology incorporates precursors for hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid within nanoparticles and microparticles. This approach is preferred because the inert precursors deliver highly reactive oxidative biocides, and hence do not give rise to resistance, but have low systemic toxicity and breakdown to give benign residues. In other words, the use of nanoplatforms allows the delivery of highly oxidative biocides directly to infecting bacteria without being toxic to the body.
Most significantly, unlike antibiotics, the nature of the antimicrobial agent used means it bypasses any antibiotic resistance the bacteria may have.
The AGA Nanotech precursor loaded TIPS particles provide an innovative antimicrobial alternative to classic antibiotic agents and could serve as adjunctive or replacement therapy. The first application will be in the field of wound care, however the technology can be adapted for pulmonary, oral or systemic delivery. It offers great potential for the creation of bespoke approaches to different clinical conditions and also avoids the issue of continually bringing new expensive antibiotics to market.
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Adrian Fellows of AGA Nanotech said: “We can engineer biodegradable nanoparticles that have a broad range of physical and biological properties that can specifically target an organ or infection site, this is both novel and transformative.
“Our research demonstrates that we can load precursor compounds, release them in a controlled way and convert them into oxidative species.”
Source: AGA Nanotech Ltd.