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Drug-resistant Bacteria - Designing Nanoparticles For High Antibiotic Doses

Highly-targeted nanoparticles that deliver huge doses of existing antibiotics could be used to overload the defenses of drug-resistant bacteria, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and MIT reported in the journal ACS Nano. The authors explained that the development of novel antibiotics that can be used effective for a growing number of bacteria that have become resistant to existing medications has become extremely challenging.

The scientists have been working towards this goal by developing a nanoparticle that invades the immune system, targeting the infection sites, and subsequently release a focused antibiotic attack. 

According to leading author, Aleks Radovic-Moreno, who is an MIT graduate student, this strategy would lower the side effects of some antibiotics and protect the beneficial bacteria that commonly live in the human body.

The new nanoparticles were created from a polymer capped with polyethylene glycol (PEG), which is commonly used for drug delivery due to its nontoxic properties and because it can help to transport nanoparticles through the bloodstream without being detected by the immune system. 

The researchers then induced the particles to specifically target bacteria. Previous attempts to target particles to bacteria by giving them a positive charge that attracts them to bacteria's negatively charged cell walls have not been successful, given that the immune system tends to clear positively-charged nanoparticles from the body before they can encounter bacteria.

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