Light-activated nanotherapy could thwart antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) have developed an adaptive light therapy approach to halt antibiotic-resistant infections from salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, among others.

Related: UV light robot could thwart spread of hospital superbugs

Recognizing that these bacteria rapidly adapt and develop immunity to common antibiotics such as penicillin, resulting in a high amount of infection-related deaths in the U.S. (an estimated 23,000), the research team used light-activated therapeutic nanoparticles known as quantum dots. These nanoparticles resemble the tiny semiconductors used in consumer electronics, and were able to successfully kill 92% of drug-resistant bacterial cells in a lab-grown culture in their study. Prashant Nagpal, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at CU-Boulder and the BioFrontiers Institute and a senior author of the study, explains that their ability to shrink these semiconductors down to the nanoscale enabled them to create highly specific interactions within the cellular environment that only target the infection.

Salmonella bacteria under a microscope. (Photo by NIAID/Wikipedia)

Previous research has shown that metal nanoparticles—created from gold and silver, among other metals—can be effective at combating antibiotic resistant infections, but can indiscriminately damage surrounding cells as well. The quantum dots, however, can be tailored to particular infections, thanks to their light-activated properties. The dots remain inactive in darkness, but can be activated on command by exposing them to light, allowing researchers to modify the wavelength to alter and kill the infected cells.

The specificity of this innovation may help reduce or eliminate the potential side effects of other treatment methods for diseases such as HIV and cancer, as well as provide a path forward for future development and clinical trials.

Full details of the work appear in the journal Nature Materials; for more information, please visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmat4542.

Follow us on Twitter, 'like' us on Facebook, connect with us on Google+, and join our group on LinkedIn

Get All the BioOptics World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to BioOptics World Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now
Related Articles

Merz acquires laser tattoo removal device maker ON Light Sciences

Merz North America has acquired ON Light Sciences, which develops technologies to enhance laser-based dermatology procedures.

Shortwave-infrared device could improve ear infection diagnosis

An otoscope-like device that could improve ear infection diagnosis uses shortwave-infrared light instead of visible light.

Microscope detects one million-plus biomarkers for sepsis in 30 minutes

A microscope has the potential to simultaneously detect more than one million biomarkers for sepsis at the point of care.

Eye test that pairs two in vivo imaging methods may detect Parkinson's earlier

A low-cost, noninvasive eye test pairs two in vivo imaging methods to help detect Parkinson's before clinical symptoms appear.

BLOGS

Neuro15 exhibitors meet exacting demands: Part 2

Increasingly, neuroscientists are working with researchers in disciplines such as chemistry and p...

Why be free?

A successful career contributed to keeping OpticalRayTracer—an optical design software program—fr...

LASER Munich 2015 is bio-bent

LASER World of Photonics 2015 included the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics among its si...

White Papers

Understanding Optical Filters

Optical filters can be used to attenuate or enhance an image, transmit or reflect specific wavele...

How can I find the right digital camera for my microscopy application?

Nowadays, image processing is found in a wide range of optical microscopy applications. Examples ...

CONNECT WITH US

            

Twitter- BioOptics World