Researchers develop nanoparticle 'weapon' to attack HAI bacteria

One bacterial asset that makes the bugs so difficult to remove from living tissue and medical instruments is their biofilm. New research published in Scientific Reports details the application of target nanoparticles to break up these films, which dislodge the biofilms and make bacteria vulnerable to antibiotic treatments.

"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," Cyrille Boyer, lead researcher and associate professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia, said in a statement. "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."

The formations of biofilms, which have been linked to 80 percent of infections, make treating hospital-acquired infections more difficult and expensive to treat. When biofilms attempt to colonize a site, whether living tissue or a medical device, they spread out into individual cells, which reduces their protective mechanism. UNSW injected iron oxide nanoparticles into the films and heated them using an applied magnetic field. This caused the biofilms to disperse, which the researchers conclude could be applied to clinical settings to tackle infections.

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