Scientists Developed New Methods to Resolve Lung Infections
ATLANTA, GEORGIA — July 20, 2018
The new therapy may pave the way for future treatments of hospital-acquired lung infections and CF-associated infections.
A team developed a new strategy, which directly delivers bacteriophages into the lungs in an efficient way through a tiny, hollow, porous particles with a very specific size and volume, to enter the narrow spaces of the lungs and prevent their fast clearance.
According to the researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, bacteriophages, which are viruses that specifically target and kill bacteria, have been viewed as an attractive alternative to antibiotics because they do not contribute to the development of antibiotic drug resistance.
Also, they could be able to degrade drug-resistant bacterial biofilms — aggregates of bacteria that are protected from the action of antibiotics.
It has also been proven that a treatment with these phage-loaded particles was effectively prevented pneumonia-related deaths in mice.
"In animal testing, the phage-coated polymer particles successfully treated pneumonia in infected mice and dramatically reduced bacterial levels in an animal model of cystic fibrosis. The technique might one day allow delivery of the dry-powder phage using a device similar to a common inhaler." said one of the study's specialist.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center, a partnership between Georgia Tech and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“Phage delivery is an area where the right type of material could make a difference in therapeutic applications,” said Andrés García, the Rae S. and Frank H. Neely Chair and Regents' Professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. “We set out to engineer a biomaterial carrier that would keep the phage active while delivering them deep into the lungs in a uniform fashion. This is a key step in moving this potential therapy forward.”
Phage therapy has generated more interest as concerns about antibiotic use has grown.
In that regard, it was clear that this delivery system was found to effectively support targeted treatment not only against P. aeruginosa but also against several other clinical strains of bacteria isolated from hospital-associated lung infections and cystic fibrosis patients.
Additional studies are still needed to evaluate the effects and safety profile of repetitive and prolonged treatment regimens with these bacteriophage-coated particles.