Utilizing nanotechnology for nitric oxide delivery in combating catheter-related microbial biofilms

(Nanowerk News) The seemingly common perception of microbes living as single-celled organisms has been found to be untrue. Advancement in microscopy has found that much like humans, most microbes also live in communities, both in nature and during infection. These intricate and complex communities of microbes are called biofilms.
“Biofilms consist of microbial cells that are buried beneath an umberella of a sugar matrix for protection, just like a fortress and individual cells being the soldiers,” explains Dr. Luis R. Martinez, associate professor of Biomedical Sciences at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine and senior author of a recent article accepted for publication in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy ("Sustained nitric oxide releasing nanoparticles induce cell death in Candida albicans yeast and hyphal cells preventing biofilm formation in vitro and in a rodent central venous catheter model") describing a novel strategy in combating these microbial communities.
One haunting fact about biofilms is that they have the capacity to colonize and prosper on almost all surfaces and they provide microbes protection from antimicrobial agents and immune cells. Candida albicans is a fungus that inhabits in humans. Forty percent of patients with C. albicans biofilm-infected intravenous catheters develop fungemia with consequences ranging from focal infection to severe sepsis and death. The removal of peripheral intravenous catheters or central venous catheters is not always feasible, and replacement is expensive. The economic consequences of C. albicans-related infections are highlighted by the ~$1.7 billion spent annually on treating candidemia in the United States.
Dr. Martinez and a team of collaborating scientists from several institutions have demonstrated that the release of nitric-oxide through a nanoparticle delivery system (NO-np) can be utilized as a therapeutic agent for the prevention and treatment of catheter-associated C. albicans biofilms infections.
“We found that nitric oxide inhibits biofilm formation on catheters implanted in rats and destroys the sugar matrix of mature biofilms. This is important because the flexible platform of this technology allows to be injected directly into the implanted device or can be combined with commonly used drugs to eradicate these microbes” said Dr. Martinez.
In previous studies the team has shown that NO-np accelerate wound healing in fungal burn infections caused by single cells but never tested its efficacy on biofilms which are the most resilient forms of microbes.
“This really highlights the versatility nanomedicine is providing scientists with. It’s flexibility as a delivery system allows it a broad profile of functionality that isn’t possible with other drugs.” Dr. Martinez concluded.
The NO-np described are currently being commercially developed by Nano BioMed, Inc (www.nanobiomedinc.com) for multiple indications.
Dr. Martinez also wishes to recognize the contributions of Mohammed Ahmadi, B.S., Hiu Ham Lee, M.S., David A. Sanchez, B.S., Moses Tar, M.D., Kelvin Davies, Ph.D., Adam Friedman, M.D. and Joshua D. Nosanchuk, M.D.
Source: New York Institute of Technology