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Study indicates new weapon in the fight against deadly fungi



  Study indicates new weapon in the fight against deadly fungi
Credit: ACS

Monash University researchers have gained insight into how nanoparticles can be used to identify the presence of invasive and sometimes deadly microbes and to more effectively perform targeted treatments.

This study was conducted in interdisciplinary collaboration between microbiologists, immunologists and engineers under the direction of Simon Corrie of the Monash University Department of Chemical Engineering and Professor Ana Traven of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI). It was recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society ACS Applied Interfaces and Material .

Candida albicans a common microbe, can become deadly when it settles on devices such as catheters that are in the human body. Although this microbe is common in healthy people, it can be a serious problem for seriously ill or immunosuppressed people.

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

"The mortality rate in some patient populations can range from 30 to 40 percent, even if you treat people, and when it settles, it's extremely resistant to antifungals," Professor Traven said.

"The idea is that if you can diagnose this infection early, you may have a much greater chance of successfully treating them with topical antimycotics and stopping a full-blown systemic infection, but our current diagnostic methods are lacking Recognizing early stages of colonization would be of great benefit. "

Researchers investigated the effects of organosilicon nanoparticles of different size, concentration, and surface coating to determine if and how they interact with both. C. Albikaner and with immune cells in the blood.

They found that the nanoparticles were bound to fungal cells but non-toxic to them.

"They do not kill the microbes, but we can get an anti-fungal particle by binding to a well-known anti-fungal drug," said Professor Traven.

The researchers also showed that the particles associate with neutrophils ̵

1; human white blood cells – in a manner similar to . C. albicans which are not cytotoxic to them.

"We have found that these nanoparticles, and therefore a variety of different types of nanoparticles, can be interacting with cells of interest," Dr. Corrie.

"We can actually change surface properties by attaching different things, so we can really change the interactions that they have with these cells."

Dr. Corrie said that while nanoparticles have been studied in the treatment of cancer, the use of nanoparticle-based technologies in infectious diseases remains behind the field of cancer nanomedicine, despite the great potential for new treatments and diagnoses.

Instead of using cultured cells, we also study how particles work in human whole blood and with neutrophils extracted from fresh human blood, "he said.

Professor Traven said the study was heavily influenced by Interdisciplinary Methods Benefit Collaboration.

"We have brought together laboratories with expertise in infection, microbiology and immunology with a laboratory with engineering expertise to conduct state-of-the-art experiments," she said.


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Further information:
Vidhishri Kesarwani et al., Characterization of Important Bio-Nano Interactions between Organosilica Nanoparticles and Candida Albicans, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2019). DOI: 10.1021 / acsami.9b10853

Provided by
Monash University




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Study points to new weapon in the fight against deadly fungi (2019, 9 November)
retrieved on November 9, 2019
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