Tuesday 10 December 2013

Use of nanotechnology to fight fungal infections

Researchers have converted recycled plastic bottles into non-toxic and biocompatible materials designed to specifically target and attack fungal infections.
With this breakthrough, a research team used nanotechnology and converted common plastic materials like polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is the plastic used to make drinks bottles.
The newly formed anti-fungal agents self-assemble through a hydrogen-bonding process, sticking to each other like molecular Velcro in a polymer-like fashion to form nanofibers. Infection Control notes that this novel nanofiber carries a positive charge and can selectively target and attach to only the negatively-charged fungal membranes based on electrostatic interaction. The new compound then breaks through and destroys the fungal cell membrane walls, preventing the fungus from developing resistance.
The in vivo antifungal activity of the nanofibers was evaluated in a mouse model using a contact lens-associated yeast infection, according to Controlled Environments.
The reason behind the new nano tech is because traditional anti-fungal therapeutics need to get inside the cell to attack the infection but have trouble targeting and penetrating the fungi membrane wall. This process is complex and not always successful.
The research was conducted by IBM and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. The findings have been reported in the journal Nature Communications. The article is titled “Supramolecular high-aspect ratio assemblies with strong antifungal activity”.

Posted by Tim Sandle

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