Resistant bacteria is a growing problem in the whole world. The reason is that antibiotics often is used more often than necessary. In infected wounds, especially chronic wounds which are common for patients with diseases such as diabetes where the blood circulation is poor, antibiotics is used.
The material Marina Craig has been studying is a nano film that works as a barrier between the drug and the bacteria’s degradation enzymes, protease. On the inside of the barrier there is an amount of drugs suited to kill one bacteria. When the bacteria’s protease degrades the barrier the drug leaks out and takes out the bacteria.
Tell us about the material
It is a nano film made of polypeptides. The thin film can be used as a surface around a very small capsule with drugs for one single bacteria. The film is degraded by the bacteria’s protease. When putting it onto an infected wound there should be as many capsules as there are bacteria to inhibit the infection. Since the protease are specific for each kind of bacteria I spent a lot of time finding the proper polypeptides suited for two types of bacteria causing diseases, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Polypeptides already exist and is no discovery in itself. What I have done is finding a new way of using them and show a connection that no one has seen before when it comes to designing polypeptides to suit the protease.
Why does it mainly suit treatment of chronic wounds?
That’s where the biggest problems are. Those who have an underlying problem like for example diabetes also have problems with chronic wounds because of poor blood circulation. The idea is that as much as possible is treated locally, instead of expose the whole body to drugs when you have an infection.
What would a finished product look like?
That is not part of the study, but it could be used in bandages, gel or crème. I haven’t looked into the product, but instead focused on getting the system to work.
What’s the next step?
We’re not working with it at the moment because of problems with the patenting, but who knows, perhaps it becomes real in the future. At least now the knowledge is out there.
What benefit do you find in working within SuMo?
It has been really great since I work alone and don’t belong to a group. SuMo was always there to help. Everyone wanted to help and I tried to help others when I could. It is a good place to exchange knowledge and favours.
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