Antibiotic resistance is an increasing issue, particularly among a group of bacteria known as "Gram-negative." As these bacteria possess two cell-membranes, it is harder for drugs to penetrate and destroy the cells.
Researchers are taking efforts to utilize nanotechnology to design more targeted treatments for these drug-resistant bugs. They directly delivered an antimicrobial peptide packed in a silicon nanoparticle into the lungs of mice aggressively infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram-negative drug-resistant bacterium causing pneumonia.
This approach was used previously to deliver targeted cancer drugs. It can also be adapted for treating other difficult-to-treat bacterial infections like tuberculosis. They packed the peptides into silicon nanoparticles to prevent the quick release of peptides which could damage tissues on their way to their targets.
After the delivery of the nanoparticles, they found that the aggressive bacterial infection in the lungs of the mice had dramatically decreased. The treated mice had only one-millionth of the number of bacteria than the untreated ones, and lived longer. These peptides were also found to kill drug-resistant Pseudomonas strains taken from patients and cultured in lab.
Scientists have planned to design an inhalable version of the nanoparticle while using for humans.