Nanoparticles may be best bet for treating respiratory infections
The researchers added a mixture of the antibiotic clarithromycin, a biodegradable polymer oil and a stabilizer to nanoparticles, which are countless times smaller than a tennis ball.
They then injected the nanoparticles into human bronchial cells infected with the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, which is a major cause of hospital-acquired infection.
The nanoparticles were then able to deliver the antibiotic directly to the bacteria found in either the biofilms or inside individual lung cells, as opposed to having to first work their way through biological barriers, such as mucous and respiratory tissues.
"Using nanoparticles to deliver drugs to a local site of infection is a promising strategy for overcoming side effects, increasing treatment efficacy, and overcoming resistance,” Dr. Cristiane Carvalho-Wodarz, from the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research in Saarbrucken, Germany, said. “The nanoparticles we have developed have a number of advantages as drug carriers; they do not provoke a toxic effect, they are highly stable, they release the drug over a sustained period, and they can overcome cellular barriers. We believe that our formulation shows promise to improve the antibacterial efficacy, which could help patients with lung infections, since the antibiotic can reach the infection site directly and therefore decrease the side effects we see during traditional routes of administration.”