Nanoparticles in Antibacterial Treatments

Nanoparticle antibacterial treatments offers exciting possibilities, including the ability for using nanoparticles to:

  • treat antibiotic resistant infections
  • treat staph infections
  • release antibiotics when a infection starts in a wound

The next section provides examples of the different types of ongoing research into the use of nanotechnology in antibacterial treatments

Nanotechnology-based Antibacterial Treatments: Applications under Development

Reserachers at Rice University are developing nanoscale drills to kill antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Researchers at the University of Houston are developing a technique to kill bacteria using gold nanoparticles and infrared light. This method may lead to improved cleaning of instruments in hospital settings.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder are investigating the use of quantum dots to treat antibiotic resistant infections.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales are investigating the use of polymer coated iron oxide nanoparticles to treat chronic bacterial infections.

One of the earliest nanomedicine applications was the use of nanocrystalline silver which is  as an antimicrobial agent for the treatment of wounds, as discussed on the Nucryst Pharmaceuticals Corporation website.

A nanoparticle cream has been shown to fight staph infections. The nanoparticles contain nitric oxide gas, which is known to kill bacteria. Studies on mice have shown that using the nanoparticle cream to release nitric oxide gas at the site of staph abscesses significantly reduced the infection.

Burn dressing that is coated with nanocapsules containing antibotics. If a infection starts the harmful bacteria in the wound causes the nanocapsules to break open, releasing the antibotics. This allows much quicker treatment of an infection and reduces the number of times a dressing has to be changed.

A welcome idea in the early study stages is the elimination of bacterial infections in a patient within minutes, instead of delivering treatment with antibiotics over a period of weeks. You can read about design analysis for the antimicrobial nanorobot used in such treatments in the following article: Microbivores: Artifical Mechanical Phagocytes using Digest and Discharge Protocol.

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