World-first nanotechnology developed by the University of South Australia could change the lives of thousands of people living with cystic fibrosis (CF) as ground-breaking research shows it can improve the effectiveness of the CF antibiotic tobramycin, increasing its efficacy by up to 100,000-fold. The new technology uses a biomimetic nanostructured material to augment tobramycin--the antibiotic prescribed to treat chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infections in severe cases of CF--eradicating the infection in as little as two doses. In Australia, CF affects one in 2500 babies--or one baby born every four days--causing severe impairments to a person's lungs, airways, and digestive system, trapping bacteria and leading to recurrent infections. Lung failure is the major cause of death for people with CF. The UniSA research team, which includes Professor Clive Prestidge, Dr. Nicky Thomas, and PhD candidate, Chelsea Thorn, says the discovery could transform the lives of people living with CF. "CF is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent, chronic lung infections and limits a person's ability to breathe," Dr. Thorn says. "The disease causes thick, sticky mucus to clog a person's airways, attracting germs and bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which leads to recurring infections and blockages. "Tobramycin is commonly used to treat these infections, but, increasingly, antibiotics are failing to make any significant difference to lung infections, leaving sufferers requiring life-long antibiotic therapy administered every month. "Our research successfully treats advanced human cell culture lung infections using nano-enhanced tobramycin and shows how it can eradicate serious and persistent infections after only two doses. "This could be a real game-changer for people living with CF."
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