About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Nanoparticles Used To Fight Chronic Bacterial Infections In Hospitals

by Shirley Johanna on December 18, 2015 at 7:08 PM
Font : A-A+

Nanoparticles Used To Fight Chronic Bacterial Infections In Hospitals

Researchers have found that infections in hospitals caused by biofilms can be removed using nanoparticles and heat. Biofilms are formed by bacteria that stick to each other on living tissue and medical instruments, making them harder to remove.

The University of New South Wales study, jointly led by Associate Professor Cyrille Boyer of the School of Chemical Engineering and deputy director of Australian Centre for NanoMedicine, appears in the Nature's open access journal Scientific Reports.


"Chronic biofilm-based infections are often extremely resistant to antibiotics and many other conventional antimicrobial agents, and have a high capacity to evade the body's immune system," said Boyer. "Our study points to a pathway for the non-toxic dispersal of biofilms in infected tissue, while also greatly improving the effect of antibiotic therapies."

Biofilms have been linked to 80% of infections, forming on living tissues (eg. respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts, oral cavities, eyes, ears, wounds, heart and cervix) or dwelling in medical devices (eg. dialysis catheters, prosthetic implants and contact lenses).

The formation of biofilms is a growing and costly problem in hospitals, creating infections that are more difficult to treat -- leading to chronic inflammation, impaired wound healing, rapidly acquired antibiotic resistance and the spread of infectious embolisms in the bloodstream.

They also cause fouling and corrosion of wet surfaces, and the clogging of filtration membranes in sensitive equipment -- even posing a threat to public health by acting as reservoirs of pathogens in distribution systems for drinking water.

In general, bacteria have two life forms during growth and proliferation: planktonic, where bacteria exist as single, independent cells; or aggregated together in colonies as biofilms, where bacteria grow in a slime-like polymer matrix that protects them from the environment around them.

Acute infections mostly involve planktonic bacteria, which are usually treatable with antibiotics. However, when bacteria have had enough time to form a biofilm -- within a human host or non-living material such as dialysis catheters -- an infection can often become untreatable and develop into a chronic state.

Although biofilms were first recognised in the 17th century, their importance was not realised until the 1990s, when it became clear that microbes exist in nature more often in colonies made up of lots of different microorganisms that adhere to surfaces through slime excreted by their inhabitants. Thus began a global race to understand biofilms, at a time when it was also realised they were responsible for the majority of chronic infections.

The discovery of how to dislodge biofilms by the UNSW team - jointly led by Dr Nicolas Barraud, formerly of UNSW and now at France's Institut Pasteur -- was made using the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This is a model organism whose response to the technique the researchers believe will apply to most other bacteria.

When biofilms want to colonise a new site, they disperse into individual cells, reducing the protective action of the biofilm. It is this process the UNSW team sought to trigger, making the bacteria again susceptible to antimicrobial agents.

The UNSW team found that by injecting iron oxide nanoparticles into the biofilms, and using an applied magnetic field to heat them -- which induces local hyperthermia through raising the temperature by 5°C or more - the biofilms were triggered into dispersing.

They achieved this using iron oxide nanoparticles coated with polymers that help stabilise and maintain the nanoparticles in a dispersed state, making them an ideal non-toxic tool for treating biofilm infections.

"The use of these polymer-coated iron oxide nanoparticles to disperse biofilms may have broad applications across a range of clinical and industrial settings," said Boyer, who in October was named Physical Scientist of the Year in Australia's Prime Minister's Prizes for Science.

"Once dispersed, the bacteria are easier to deal with - creating the potential to remove recalcitrant, antimicrobial-tolerant biofilm infections."

Source: Eurekalert

News A-Z
What's New on Medindia
Get Involved and Stand Up for Human Rights on Human Rights Day 2022
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting
Macronutrients Calculator for Weight Loss
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Nanotechnology Natural Antibiotics to Fight Bacterial Infections Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) Smelly Feet / Bromodosis Croup Impetigo Epiglottitis Bacterial Meningitis Dysuria - Symptom Evaluation Toxic Shock Syndrome 

Most Popular on Medindia

Find a Hospital Diaphragmatic Hernia Drug - Food Interactions Sinopril (2mg) (Lacidipine) Blood - Sugar Chart Indian Medical Journals How to Reduce School Bag Weight - Simple Tips Noscaphene (Noscapine) Loram (2 mg) (Lorazepam) Drug Side Effects Calculator
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Nanoparticles Used To Fight Chronic Bacterial Infections In Hospitals Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests