World’s first nanotechnology developed by the University of South Australia could change the lives of thousands of people with cystic fibrosis (CF), as groundbreaking research shows it can improve the effectiveness of the antibiotic CF Tobramycin , increasing its efficiency up to 100,000 times.
The new technology uses a nanostructured biomimetic material to increase tobramycin – the antibiotic prescribed to treat chronic lung infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa in severe cases of cystic fibrosis – eradicating the infection in as few as two doses.
In Australia, cystic fibrosis (CF) affects one in 2,500 babies – or babies born every four days – causing severe impairments in a person’s lungs, airways and digestive system, trapping bacteria and leading to infections. recurring. Lung failure is the leading cause of death in people with cystic fibrosis.
The UniSA research team, which includes Professor Clive Prestidge, Dr Nicky Thomas and doctoral candidate Chelsea Thorn, says the discovery could transform the lives of people with cystic fibrosis.
“Cystic fibrosis is a progressive genetic disease that causes persistent chronic lung infections and limits a person’s ability to breathe,” says Thorn.
“The disease causes thick, sticky mucus that clogs a person’s airways, attracting germs and bacteria, like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, resulting in recurring infections and blockages.
“Tobramycin is commonly used to treat these infections, but increasingly antibiotics fail to make a significant difference in lung infections, forcing patients to require lifelong antibiotics given every month. .
“Our research successfully treats advanced lung infections by culturing human cells using nano-enhanced tobramycin and shows how it can eradicate severe and persistent infections after just two doses.
“It could be a game-changer for people with cystic fibrosis.”
Researchers improved tobramycin with a nanostructured biometric material based on liquid crystal nanoparticles (LCNP), testing it on a new model of lung infection to show its unique ability to penetrate the dense surface of the bacteria and kill the infection.
According to Dr. Nicky Thomas, the discovery continues the global battle to eradicate and prevent Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Tobramycin works by inhibiting the synthesis of bacteria and damaging the cell membrane. However, since it is a concentration-dependent antibiotic, it is essential to achieve a sufficiently high concentration, ”explains Dr Thomas.
“Our technology improves the performance of tobramycin without increasing the toxicity of the drug, so what we are doing is a much more effective and efficient treatment for chronic lung infections.”
The technology is currently entering preclinical trials and hopes to be on the market within the next five years.
The research group for this study includes the University of South Australia; the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health and Research; the ARC Center of Excellence in Bio-Nanotechnology Science and Technology; the UniSA Cancer Research Institute biofilm testing facility; the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research in Saarland; and University of the Saar.
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