Scientists have succeeded in developing an effective method to treat the often lethal airway infections with nanoparticles that transport the antibiotics more efficiently to their destination. The lung is so significantly damaged that patients often die or need to have a lung transplant. Permanent treatment with inhaled antibiotics plays a considerable part in this.
‘After cystic fibrosis, the lung gets damaged and patients often die or need to have a lung transplant. Permanent treatment with inhaled antibiotics play a considerable part.’
While, the treatment can not avoid the colonisation by bacteria completely but it can keep it in check for a longer period of time.
The bacteria defends themselves with a development of resistance, but with the growth of so-called biofilms underneath the layer of mucus, which mostly block off the bacteria in the lower rows like a protective shield.
"Typically, the drugs are applied by inhalation in the body. Then they make a complicated way through the body to the pathogens and many of them don't make it to their destination," Dagmar Fischer, Chair for Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Jena, in Germany, said in a statement.
To overcome the strong defense, the researchers encapsulated the active agents, like the antibiotic Tobramycin, in a polyester polymer.
Thus, they created a nanoparticle which they then tested in the laboratory where they beforehand had simulated the present lung situation, in a static as well as in a dynamic state, i.e. with simulated flow movements.
The scientists discovered that their nanoparticle travels more easily through the sponge-like net of the mucus layer and is finally able to kill off the pathogens without any problems.
Moreover, an additionally applied coating of polyethylenglycol makes it nearly invisible for the immune system.
"All materials of a nanocarrier are biocompatible, biodegradable, nontoxic and therefore not dangerous for humans," the researchers noted.