A commonly found microbe can turn dangerous if it gets colonized on medical devices for example catheters implanted in the human body. But the good news is that researchers found a way to identify the presence of deadly microbes present on medical devices, like catheters, and how to keep them infection-free.
The research study was led by Dr. Simon Corrie from Monash University’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Professor Ana Traven from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) as an interdisciplinary collaboration between microbiologists, immunologists, and engineers. The research paper is published recently in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Applied Interfaces and Material.
Very commonly found microbe Candida albicans, even in healthy people but can turn dangerous when it colonizes on devices such as catheters implanted in the human body. This microbe can cause health problems too seriously ill or immune-suppressed patients.
A biofilm forms by the microbe when it gets colonized, like a catheter, can act as a carrier of infection and then spreads into the bloodstream to infect internal organs.
Professor Traven said that 30-40% is the mortality rate even if you treat people. Because when it colonizes, it becomes highly resistant to anti-fungal treatments. But the best part is that you can diagnose this infection early, and this gives you an opportunity to get treatment early and then it successfully treated with current anti-fungal drugs and stopping a full-blown systemic infection. Our current diagnostic methods are lacking to diagnose this infection and we can use a biosensor to detect early stages of colonization that would be highly beneficial.
The researchers did a complete investigation of the effects of organosilica nanoparticles of different sizes, concentrations and surface coatings to check whether and how they interacted with both C. Albicans and with immune cells in the blood. The study found that the nanoparticles bound to fungal cells, but were non-toxic to them.
Professor Traven further said that they don’t kill the microbe, but we can make an anti-fungal particle by binding them to known anti-fungal drugs. The researchers also mentioned that the particles associated with neutrophils — human white blood cells — in a similar way as they did with C. Albicans, remaining noncytotoxic towards them.
Dr. Corrie said that they have identified that these nanoparticles, and by inference, a number of different types of nanoparticles, can be made to be interactive with cells of interest. He further added that We can actually change the surface properties by attaching different things; thereby we can really change the interactions they have with these cells — that’s quite significant. While nanoparticles were being investigated in the treatment of cancer, the use of nanoparticle-based technologies in infectious diseases lags behind the cancer nanomedicine field, despite the great potential for new treatments and diagnostics.