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Posted: January 29, 2009
Novel Topical Nanoemulsion Kills Highly Resistant Strains of Bacteria
(Nanowerk News) Scientists at NanoBio Corp. and
the University of Michigan have demonstrated in the laboratory that their
novel topical nanoemulsion kills the highly resistant strains of bacteria that
cause chronic illness and death among individuals with cystic fibrosis.
The findings are significant because they represent a new model for
treating resistant bacteria that lead to pulmonary failure in patients with
cystic fibrosis, according to the study authors. Results of the in vitro study
are published in the January issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
"Respiratory tract infections are the primary cause of death in persons
with cystic fibrosis, and there are simply no effective therapies for patients
infected with Burkholderia and other bacterial species that are resistant to
all known antibiotics," said John LiPuma, M.D., professor and associate chair
for research in the department of pediatrics at the University of Michigan.
"The nanoemulsion we tested was bactericidal against all but two of 150
bacterial strains, regardless of their levels of resistance, and it inhibited
the growth of all the strains."
Currently, oral or intravenous antibiotics serve as frontline therapy
against cystic fibrosis-related bacterial infections. But systemic drugs often
fail to reach the airways with sufficient strength to subdue the bacteria or
to penetrate the thick sputum and bacterial biofilms that coat the bacteria.
The rising prevalence of drug-resistant strains of bacteria has also reduced
the efficacy of frontline antibiotics, both oral and intravenous, according to
LiPuma, lead author of the study.
In the present study, the scientists applied various concentrations of
NanoBio's topical nanoemulsion to 150 multi-drug resistant and panresistant
(completely resistant) bacteria obtained from the lungs of patients with
cystic fibrosis. All strains of bacteria except two were killed by a
concentration representing one-sixteenth the nanoemulsion formulation that has
been used by NanoBio in recent clinical trials to treat skin infections.
"The strength of a topical or inhaled therapy is that you can achieve high
local concentrations of the drug that you could never achieve with an oral
systemic drug because it would cause systemic toxicity," said James R. Baker,
Jr., M.D., founder and chairman of NanoBio Corp. "We can nebulize our
nanoemulsion so that it is deposited directly into the lungs to kill these
highly resistant infections that cannot be effectively treated with available
The nanoemulsion also demonstrated bactericidal activity in the presence
of cystic fibrosis sputum and against bacterial biofilms, protective coatings
that surround bacterial colonies and block the penetration of drugs.
"Based on preclinical and clinical safety data from NanoBio's topical
anti-infective products, we believe that we can safely deliver nanoemulsion
concentrations to the lung that will be effective in killing the targeted
bacteria," said LiPuma. "The goal is to reduce bacterial populations to a
level that the body can effectively manage so that the patient has fewer acute
episodes and hospitalizations."
NanoBio, a spin-out from the University of Michigan, is currently
conducting preclinical nebulization and toxicity studies with multiple
nanoemulsion formulations. The company expects to initiate a phase 1 study in
humans with cystic fibrosis in 2010.