John Garner

PEG-PLA from PolySciTech used to develop silver-antibiotic nanoparticle for treatment of MRSA

Blog Post created by John Garner on May 14, 2018

Gelfat, 2018 MRSA nanoparticle PEG-PLA PolyScitech.jpg

For decades, antibiotics have been the ‘go-to’ therapy for a broad range of diseases. In many ways, it has been the development of antibiotics which has allowed society to grow to where it is now. In the absence of these interventions, diseases such as cholera and typhoid would have wiped out large numbers of people. Bacteria, like all living organisms, are adaptive and as time goes by, more and more bacteria are presenting resistance against antibiotics which drastically limits treatment options. Notably, MRSA, remains resistant to most available treatment options and can be deadly. Recently, researchers at Northeastern University used mPEG-PLA (AK021) from PolySciTech ( to develop nanoparticles loaded with silver, gentamicin, and fructose. They found these agents work together to kill MRSA in a synergistic manner. This research holds promise to provide vital treatment options for this nearly incurable disease. Read more: Gelfat, Ilia, Benjamin M. Geilich, and Thomas J. Webster. "Fructose-Enhanced Antimicrobial Activity of Silver Nanoparticle-Embedded Polymersome Nanocarriers." Journal of biomedical nanotechnology 14, no. 3 (2018): 619-626. 7?crawler=true&mimetype=application/pdf


“Abstract: In recent years, an increasing body of research has indicated that the antimicrobial activity of certain antibiotic drugs can be enhanced by the addition of specific metabolites. This study aimed to incorporate these findings into polymersomes (novel polymer-based nanoscale drug delivery vehicles) which can be loaded with various therapeutic molecules and nanoparticles. Polymersome technology has shown promising results in treating antibiotic-resistant infections by co-encapsulating the antibiotic methicillin with silver nanoparticles. Here, silver nanoparticle-embedded polymersomes (AgPs) were synthesized in a similar fashion with gentamicin replacing methicillin as the antibiotic agent and supplemented with fructose to promote efficacy. Two clinically-isolated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (ATCC #43300 and ATCC #25923) were cultured and treated with the new AgP formulations, with the former strain being susceptible to gentamicin and the latter strain being resistant to gentamicin. The treatment of the non-resistant strain yielded promising results with the polymersomes without fructose supplementation inducing a maximal growth rate reduction of up to 40% and an increase in lag time of up to 141% relative to the untreated control. Impressively, the fructose-loaded polymersomes completely eliminated the bacterial growth over the observed time period at the higher doses and outperformed the no-fructose treatment at all concentrations. However, despite significantly reducing bacterial growth, the treatment of the gentamicin-resistant strain did not seem to be enhanced by the addition of fructose. Lastly, the present study demonstrated that the presence of fructose in the polymersomes seemed to slightly ameliorate the cytotoxic effect of the treatment on human dermal fibroblasts (a model mammalian cell). In addition to developing and testing a new polymersome formulation with fructose resulting in increased efficacy, the results of this study also demonstrated the variability inherent to developing novel antimicrobial treatments for different bacterial strains.”


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