Antibiotics are the predominant tool when fighting bacterial infections, but bacteriophages could potentially be a lot more effective. Bacteriophages are viruses that attack bacteria and because they avoid injuring human cells they are a promising therapeutic tool, if used correctly. Moreover, they can be used alongside antibiotics, since the two don’t affect each other.
At McMaster University in Canada researchers have developed a hydrogel loaded with an enormous amount of bacteriophage viruses that can overwhelm any bacterial defenses. Because the hydrogel has such a high concentration of bacteriophages, they end up joining together to create a self-healing material that reassembles after being cut.
One millimeter of the gel holds over 300 trillion of the bacteriophage viruses, and if these are made to target specific bacterial infections, or even cancer through DNA modification, the gel may have impressive therapeutic effects.
Conveniently, because the gel is naturally fluorescent, it lends itself to scientific studies, allowing it to be tracked within the body.
Here’s a video from McMaster University with the researchers that invented the new gel:
Study in journal Chemistry of Materials: Hierarchically Structured, Self-Healing, Fluorescent, Bioactive Hydrogels with Self-Organizing Bundles of Phage Nanofilaments
Via: McMaster University