Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Catalan Institute for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology have come up with a way of wrapping bacteriophage viruses within a liposome in order to improve how some bacterial infections are treated. The new coating will allow phages to travel through the GI system without being degraded by the acids of the stomach, a capability already demonstrated in a study on broiler chickens.
Bacteriophages that attack Salmonella were encapsulated within a liposome shell and fed to chickens infected with the bacterial infection. Following up on the animals, the researchers showed that the levels of bacteria dropped significantly and stayed low within the GI tract when compared to delivering the viruses without the coating.
The new capability may help bring bacteriophage therapy into more common clinical practice, helping to control infections that are currently difficult to manage.
Some details according to Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona:
Thanks to the study, nanometric capsules were developed, with an average diameter of 320 nm and a positive charge of 33mV. The nanocapsules containing the bacteriophages were observed using a cryo-electron microscope (Cryo-TEM) and confocal microscope. Researchers observed how the liposome coating allowed the encapsulated bacteriophages to be significantly more stable in the gastric fluids. The coating also significantly improved the time the bacteriophages stayed inside the intestinal tract of the chickens. After 72 hours encapsulated bacteriophages were detected in 38.1% of animals, while only 9.5% of animals showed signs of still containing the nonencapsulated bacteriophages.
In oral therapy experiments, once the treatment was suspended, the protection provided by nonencapsulated bacteriophages disappeared, while the encapsulated ones were effective for at least another week.
The methodology developed allows encapsulating bacteriophages of different sizes and morphologies, demonstrates the advantages of using encapsulated bacteriophages for oral phage therapy and, moreover, the nanometric size allows adding it to potable water and fodder.
Study in journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology: Liposome-Encapsulated Bacteriophages for Enhanced Oral Phage Therapy against Salmonella spp…