Nanoparticulate drug carriers for delivery of cutting-edge antimicrobials to biofilms

Infections involving biofilms are very difficult to treat effectively. We are developing nanoparticles that can act as carriers for new antibiotics to better treat biofilm-based infections.

Small particles in the nano size range can act as effective carriers for drug molecules, by both protecting and delivering these substances to a specific target in the body.

Antibiotics containing readily hydrolysable bonds easily break down in the biological environment and may need such a delivery system to enhance their effect against bacteria. 

Over 80 percent of the infections in the body are related to bacteria residing in biofilms. These communities of microorganisms are held together by sugary molecular chains, so-called “extracellular polymeric substances”, forming an environment that protects the bacteria against antibiotics.

In this project, we aim to incorporate new antibiotics into nanoparticles so that these carrier systems can penetrate the biofilm and bring the antibiotics close to bacteria to better exert their antimicrobial effect. 

  • Participants

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  • More about the project

    Antimicrobial peptides have been shown to be very potent against several medically important, disease-causing bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus. 

    However, they easily degrade and lose their activity when delivered in the free form. 

    In this project, we are developing lipid-based nanoparticles as drug delivery systems with special focus on a type called liposomes. 

    Liposomes are spherical in shape and consist of a double layer of lipid surrounding a watery cavity. Depending on the properties of the drug molecule, it can be entrapped in the lipid bilayer or in the aqueous interior of the liposomes.

    The combination of different types of lipids gives rise to different types of liposomes with unique properties. The developmental phase includes preparation and characterization of the formulations, such as measurements of particle size and surface charge in order to better understand how they behave and how they interact with their surroundings.

    We are also developing methodologies to accurately determine the amount of drug entrapped inside the liposomes, before testing them against free bacteria and bacteria in biofilm.

    The overarching aim is to produce and commercialize clinically effective liposomal delivery systems for a number of cutting-edge antibacterial peptides, including the recently described teixobactin and its analogues.

  • Partner institutions

    • Oslo University Hospital
    • University of Liverpool, UK