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Light-Induced Delivery of Nitric Oxide Eradicates Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed a novel approach for eradicating drug-resistant bacteria from wounds and skin infections, using light to trigger the controlled release of nitric oxide. The UCSC team developed a photoactive compound that releases nitric oxide when exposed to light, and loaded it into a porous, biocompatible material that could be applied as a sprayable powder.

In laboratory tests, the light-triggered nitric oxide treatment eradicated a highly drug-resistant strain of Acinetobacter baumannii, a type of gram-negative bacteria that causes hard-to-treat and potentially lethal infections throughout the world, including serious infections in soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The team led by Pradip Mascharak, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz, and graduate student Brandon Heilman published their results in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). The paper is currently available online and will be featured on the cover of a future print issue of the journal.

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