Tuesday, 26 November 2019

A new approach to tackle superbugs


Scientists have uncovered a novel antibiotic-free approach that could help prevent and treat one of the most widespread bacterial pathogens, using nanocapsules made of natural ingredients.

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterial pathogen carried by 4.4 billion people worldwide, with the highest prevalence in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Although the majority of infections show no symptoms, if left untreated the pathogen can cause chronic inflammation of the stomach lining, ulcers and is associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer.

In 2017, the World Health Organisation included H. pylori on its list of antibiotic-resistant "priority pathogens" -- a catalog of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health and that urgently need new treatments.

Current treatments involve multi-target therapy with a combination of antibiotics, but this has promoted the emergence of resistant strains.

Now, UK and German scientists have uncovered a novel antibiotic-free approach using only food- and pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, which are non-toxic and safe for consumption, to be used as a supplement to complement antibiotic current therapies.

The formulation is delivered through billions of bundled together nanocapsules, which are smaller than a human blood cell, and prevents the bacteria from attaching to and infecting the stomach cells.


The team, which includes researchers from the universities of Leeds, Münster and Erlangen, hope the nanocapsules could be used as a preventative measure, as well as helping eradicate H. pylori and reduce antibiotic resistant strains.

See:

Bianca Menchicchi, Eleni Savvaidou, Christian Thöle, Andreas Hensel, Francisco M. Goycoolea. Low-Molecular-Weight Dextran Sulfate Nanocapsules Inhibit the Adhesion of Helicobacter pylori to Gastric Cells. ACS Applied Bio Materials, 2019; DOI: 10.1021/acsabm.9b00523

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology

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