Researchers create potential new way to fight superbugs

Researchers create potential new way to fight superbugs

By Nancy Clanton, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren for CNT #Health

World Health Organzation has declared antimicrobial resistance to be a top 10 global public health threat

Hearing “superbug” scares a lot of people. No one likes to think about a multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Researchers from Monash University in Australia have discovered a potential new way to prevent antibiotic resistance, however, possibly turning the tables on superbugs.

Antimicrobial resistance — which the World Health Organzation has declared to be a top 10 global public health threat — occurs when pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) change over time and no longer respond to medicines. Consequently, infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat.

The study, published in Nature Communications, found the use of nanoparticles in combination with other antibiotics is an effective strategy to improve bacterial killing.

“This is a stunning finding in how we deliver medicine and how the medicine we take impacts us in the future,” lead researcher Dr. Hsin-Hui Shen said in a release by the university.

Shen, of the Monash University Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and professor Jian Li of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and the Department of Microbiology, “have demonstrated that nanoparticle-based polytherapy treatments disrupt the outer membrane of superbug bacteria, and offer an improved alternative to the conventional use of loading the antibiotic within lipid nanoparticles,” the university wrote.

“When bacteria becomes resistant, the original antibiotics can no longer kill them. Instead of looking for new antibiotics to counteract superbugs, we can use the nanotechnology approach to reduce the dose of antibiotic intake, effectively killing multidrug-resistant organisms,” Shen added.

Why is this important? According to the WHO, no new antibiotic has been discovered in the past 30 years. Globally, however, there’s a crisis of antibiotic resistance, which means more people will die from basic infections because they have developed antimicrobial resistance.

“The use of nanoparticles-antibiotics combination therapy could reduce the dose intake in the human body and overcome the multidrug resistance,” Shen said.

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By Troy Warren

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