Gel Filled With Toxin-absorbing Nanosponges Cleans up MRSA
SAN DIEGO, May 18 (UPI) — When it comes to countering MRSA — the bacteria lurking in hospitals and on the skin of healthcare workers around the world — smaller is better.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have designed tiny sponges that absorb and neutralize the pore-forming toxins that make MRSA so dangerous. But countertops aren’t the target for these toxin-absorbing nanosponges, infected flesh is.
In gel form, the tiny sponges were able to shrink skin lesions on MRSA-infected mice. Scientists used a hydrogel, a gel made of water and polymers, to hold the nanosponges in place while they go to work disinfecting.
“We combined the strengths of two different materials — nanosponges and hydrogels — to create a powerful formulation to treat local bacterial infections,” research leader Liangfang Zhang, nanoengineering professor in the Jacobs School of Engineering at UCSD, said in a press release. “Nanosponges alone are difficult to use on local tissues because they diffuse away to other parts of the body very quickly. By integrating the nanosponges into a hydrogel, we can retain them at the site of infection.”
In the research, detailed in the latest issue of the journal Advanced Materials, builds on a 2013 study, Zhang and his team demonstrated the ability of the nanosponge to remove MRSA toxins from the bloodstream.
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