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Fight Against Global Antibiotic Resistance Aided by Novel Nanomesh Drug Delivery System

By discovering a concept for formulating nanomeshes as an effective drug delivery system for antibiotics, researchers are now one step closer to fighting universal antibiotic resistance.

In studying the effectiveness of the nanomesh, two antibiotics, Colistin and Vancomycin, were added together with gold nanoparticles to the mesh, before they were tested over a 14-day period by PhD student Melanie Fuller. (Image credit: Flinders University)

Health professionals are progressively apprehensive about the increase in medication-resistant bacteria.

Flinders University scientists and collaborators in Japan have created a nanomesh that can deliver drug treatments.

In examining the effectiveness of the nanomesh, two antibiotics, Vancomycin and Colistin, were added to the mesh along with gold nanoparticles. The mesh was then tested for 14 days by PhD student Melanie Fuller.

Associate Professor Ingo Koeper from Flinders Institute for Nanoscience and Technology says 20 cm by 15 cm mesh pieces were produced, which contained fibers measuring 200 nm in diameter. These meshes were made using a process known as electrospinning with parameters being enhanced to guarantee the mesh material was reliable.

In order to deliver the antibiotics to a specific area, the antibiotics were embedded into the mesh produced using a technique called electrospinning, which has gained considerable interest in the biomedical community as it offers promise in many applications including wound management, drug delivery, and antibiotic coatings.

Ingo Koeper, Associate Professor, Flinders Institute for Nanoscience and Technology

Associate Professor Koeper added, "A high voltage is then applied between the needle connected to the syringe, and the collector plate which causes the polymer solution to form a cone as it leaves the syringe, at which point the electrostatic forces release a jet of liquid."

Small charged nanoparticles altered the release of the antibiotics from the nanomesh. The addition of gold nanoparticles likely neutralised charge, causing the antibiotic to migrate toward the centre of the fibre, prolonging its release.

Ingo Koeper, Associate Professor, Flinders Institute for Nanoscience and Technology

The results also indicate dosages could be minimized when compared to traditional drugs which can also lessen potential side effects and related difficulties.

Although the dosage is reduced compared to an oral dosage, the concentration of antibiotics delivered to the infection site can still be higher, ensuring the bacteria cannot survive which will reduce instances of resistance. This research, as a proof of concept, suggests an opportunity for fabricating nanomeshes which contain gold nanoparticles as a drug treatment for antibiotics.

Ingo Koeper, Associate Professor, Flinders Institute for Nanoscience and Technology

Partnering with Dr. Harriet Whiley, a Flinders environmental health scientist, the scientists examined how the discharge of the drugs impacted the growth of E. Coli. The in vitro research established Colistin with negatively charged gold nanoparticles formed the most efficient nanomesh, considerably influencing bacterial growth.

"Further investigation is needed to determine if other small charged particles affect the release of drugs and how it affects the release over time. As it is a pharmaceutical application, the stability of the mesh under different storage conditions as well as the toxicological properties also need to be evaluated."


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