An all-woman team of researchers from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has developed a new drug delivery platform using nanoparticles that can boost the efficacy of antibiotics at the cellular level and improve chances of recovery from cancer-related bacterial infections.
The all women researchers team consists of two faculty members, Neetu Singh from the IIT's Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Shalini Gupta from the Department of Chemical Engineering - and their students Smita Patil and Rohini Singh.
The nanotechnology-based delivery system will help in dealing with the secondary infections and will also improve the chances of recovery. It would be specifically useful for cancer patients because if the bacterial infection in cancer remains untreated, it can infect the host even after the cancer cells are killed by chemotherapy, according to a statement from the institute. The research was published last month in Scientific Reports.
Antibiotics are conventional therapeutics used for the treatment of bacterial infections. However, 50 per cent of these drugs are either not needed or not effectively utilised. Conventional antibiotics suffer from issues like improper biodistribution, poor water solubility, lack of target specificity and loss of efficacy.
"We have shown an efficient antibiotic targeting strategy that increases the antimicrobial efficacy and particle uptake for destroying intracellular bacteria,'' said Gupta.
She added that the team has been working on developing the platform since last year and their main focus has been to research on the bacteria which slips into the cancer cells.
''If you load antibiotic drugs on the nanoparticle, it makes its way through the bacteria even more … in the next study, we want to do dual drug delivery so that we can kill bacterial infection as well as the cancer cells,'' says Gupta.