Antibiotics suffer from eventual resistance by the bacteria and the fact that they can be quite indiscriminate in who they attack, including the gut’s healthy microbiome.
But, there are also bacteriophages, which are viruses that can kill specific bacteria without harming any other bacteria. The problems with bacteriophages, though, is that they’re hard to produce in large quantities and difficult to deliver, particularly into the lungs.
Researchers at Georgia Tech are now reporting that they developed special microparticles packed with bacteriophages that can be inhaled to fight bacterial lung infections.
The polymer microparticles are administered using a dry powder inhaler and the bacteriophages are released while still alive to kill the target bacteria.
In laboratory mice induced with pneumonia, including those with cystic fibrosis, the new therapy was able to save the animals from certain death. Perhaps in the not too distant future, this research will help lead to clinicians having a source of bacteriophages and a way to deliver them to patients that all too often catch lung infections inside of hospitals.
Images: Top: Image shows a histological section of the mouse lung showing lung cells, with DNA stained blue and microparticles shown in pink. Side: Image shows the effect particles coated with phage (red) have on bacterial colonies (green). The dark green areas around the particles show areas where bacteria are being killed. (Credit: Rachit Agarwal, Garcia Laboratory)
Study in Nature Biomedical Engineering: Inhaled bacteriophage-loaded polymeric microparticles ameliorate acute lung infections…
Via: Georgia Tech…