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New research to make medical equipment free of lethal fungi

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Washington D.C: Candida albicans, a commonly found microbe in healthy people can become a serious problem for those who are seriously ill or immunocompromised. It can turn deadly when it colonizes on devices such as catheters implanted in the human body because it becomes highly resistant to antifungal treatments.

In a study led by Dr Simon Corrie from Monash University’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Professor Ana Traven from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), researchers have found a way to identify the presence of deadly microbes present on medical devices, such as catheters, and ways to keep them infection-free.In this, researchers used nanoparticles to identify the presence of fatal microbes present on medical devices, like catheters. The study has appeared in the American Chemical Society journal — ACS Applied Interfaces and Material.

Professor Traven said that 30-40% is the mortality rate even if you treat people. Because when it colonizes, it becomes highly resistant to anti-fungal treatments. But the best part is that you can diagnose this infection early, and this gives you an opportunity to get treatment early and then it successfully treated with current anti-fungal drugs and stopping a full-blown systemic infection. Our current diagnostic methods are lacking to diagnose this infection and we can use a biosensor to detect early stages of colonization that would be highly beneficial.

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The microbe forms a biofilm when it colonises using, for example, a catheter as a source of infection. It then spreads into the bloodstream to infect internal organs.

The researchers investigated the effects of organosilica nanoparticles of different sizes, concentrations and surface coatings to see whether and how they interacted with both C. Albicans and with immune cells in the blood.

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They found that the nanoparticles bound to fungal cells, but were non-toxic to them.

“They don’t kill the microbe, but we can make an anti-fungal particle by binding them to a known anti-fungal drug,” Professor Traven said.

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The researchers also demonstrated that the particles associated with neutrophils — human white blood cells — in a similar way as they did with C. Albicans, remaining noncytotoxic towards them.

“We’ve identified that these nanoparticles, and by inference a number of different types of nanoparticles, can be made to be interactive with cells of interest,” Dr Corrie said.

“We can actually change the surface properties by attaching different things; thereby we can really change the interactions they have with these cells — that’s quite significant,” added Dr Corrie.

Dr Corrie said while nanoparticles were being investigated in the treatment of cancer, the use of nanoparticle-based technologies in infectious diseases lags behind the cancer nanomedicine field, despite the great potential for new treatments and diagnostics.

For further reference log on to : DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b10853




Source: Monash University

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