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Study Points to New Weapons in Fighting Deadly Fungi

  Study Indicates New Weapon in Fighting Deadly Fungi
Credit: ACS

Monash University researchers have gained an idea of ​​how nanoparticles can be used to identify the presence of invasive and sometimes deadly germs and more effectively deliver targeted therapies.

This study was conducted as an interdisciplinary collaboration between microbiologists, immunologists and engineers, led by Dr. Simon Corrie of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Monash and Professor Ana Traven of the Monash Institute of Biomedicine (BDI). It was recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society ACS Application Interfaces and Material .

Candida albicans a common microbe, can turn deadly when colonized on devices such as catheters implanted in the human body. Although common in healthy people, this microbe can become a serious problem for those who are seriously ill or immune-suppressed.

The microbe forms a biofilm when colonized using, for example, a catheter as a source of infection. It then spreads to the bloodstream to infect the internal organs.

"The mortality rate in some patient populations can be as high as 30 to 40 percent, even if you treat people. When colonized, it is highly resistant to fungal treatment," says Professor Traven.

"The idea is that if you can diagnose this infection early, then you may have a much better chance of successfully treating it with effective antifungal drugs and stopping complete systemic infection, but our current diagnostic methods are lacking. detecting the early stages of colonization would be very useful. "

Researchers studied the effects of organosilicon nanoparticles of different sizes, concentrations, and surface coatings to see if and how they interact with both C. albicans by immune cells in the blood.

They found that nanoparticles bind to but are not toxic to the fungal cells.

"They don't kill the germ, but we can make anti-fungal particles by associating them with a known anti-fungal drug," says Professor Traven.

The researchers also demonstrated that the particles bind to neutrophils ̵

1; human white blood cells – in a similar manner to C. albicans by remaining noncytotoxic to them.

"We have found that these nanoparticles, and by inference for different types of nanoparticles, can be made to interact with interesting cells," says Dr. Corey.

"We can actually change the properties of a surface by attaching different things; that way, we can really change the interactions they have with these cells – that's pretty important. "

Dr. Corey said while nanoparticles are being investigated for cancer treatment, the use of nanoparticle-based technologies for infectious diseases is lagging behind the field of cancer nanomedicines, despite the great potential for new treatments and diagnostics. "

" Another unique thing about this study is that instead of using cells grown in culture, we also look at how particles act in whole human blood and with neutrophils extracted from fresh human blood, he said.

Professor Traven stated that the study was of great benefit from the interdisciplinary

"We have assembled laboratories with expertise in infection, microbiology and immunology with a laboratory that has expertise in engineering, to do modern experiments," she.

Study Reveals Key Tactics Used by Deadly Fungi

More information:
Vidhishri Kesarwani et al, Characterization of key bio-nano interactions between organosilicon nanoparticles and Candida albicans, ACS Materials and Interfaces Applied (2019). Doi: 10.1021 / acsami.9b10853

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Monash University

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Study points to new weapons in the fight against deadly mushrooms (2019, November 9)
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