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Antibiotic nanoparticles fight drug-resistant bacteria

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
<p>Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem, especially among a type of bacteria that are classified as &ldquo;Gram-negative.&rdquo; These bacteria have two cell membranes, making it more difficult for drugs to penetrate and kill the cells.</p>
<p>Researchers from MIT and other institutions are hoping to use nanotechnology to develop more targeted treatments for these drug-resistant bugs. In a new study, they report that an antimicrobial peptide packaged in a silicon nanoparticle dramatically reduced the number of bacteria in the lungs of mice infected with&nbsp;<em>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</em>, a disease causing Gram-negative bacterium that can lead to pneumonia.</p>
<p>This approach, which could also be adapted to target other difficult-to-treat bacterial infections such as tuberculosis, is modeled on a strategy that the researchers have previously used to deliver targeted cancer drugs.</p>
<p>&ldquo;There are a lot of similarities in the delivery challenges. In infection, as in cancer, the name of the game is selectively killing something, using a drug that has potential side effects,&rdquo; says Sangeeta Bhatia, the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a member of MIT&rsquo;s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science.</p>
<p>Bhatia is the senior author of the study, which appears in the journal&nbsp;<em>Advanced Materials.&nbsp;</em>The lead author is Ester Kwon, a research scientist at the Koch Institute. Other authors are Matthew Skalak, an MIT graduate and former Koch Institute research technician; Alessandro Bertucci, a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California at San Diego; Gary Braun, a postdoc at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute; Francesco Ricci, an associate professor at the University of Rome Tor Vergata; Erkki Ruoslahti, a professor at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute; and Michael Sailor, a professor at UCSD.</p>
<p>Read the full story here:&nbsp;<a href="/%3Ca%20href%3D"http://news.mit.edu/2017/antibiotic-nanoparticles-fight-drug-resistant-bacteria-0712">http://news.mit.edu/2017/antibiotic-nanoparticles-fight-drug-resistant-bacteria-0712</a></p>">http://news.mit.edu/2017/antibiotic-nanoparticles-fight-drug-resistant-b...