Silver nanoparticles show promise in fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria — ScienceDaily

In a new study, scientists from the University of Florida found that a combination of silver nanoparticles and antibiotics were effective against bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

Researchers hope to turn this discovery into an effective treatment for other types of antibiotic-resistant infections. Antibiotic-resistant infections kill more than a million people worldwide each year.

For centuries, silver has been known to have antimicrobial properties. However, silver nanoparticles – microscopic spheres of silver small enough to act at the cellular level – represent a new frontier in using the precious metal to fight bacteria.

In this study, the research team tested whether commercially available silver nanoparticles enhance the effectiveness of antibiotics and enable these drugs to fight the same bacteria that have evolved to tolerate them.

“We found that silver nanoparticles and a common class of broad-spectrum antibiotics called aminoglycosides work together in a similar way,” said Daniel Czyż, senior author of the study and assistant professor at the department of UF / IFAS microbiology and cell science.

“When combined with small silver nanoparticles, the amount of antibiotics needed to kill bacteria is reduced by 22 times, which tells us that the nanoparticles make the drug more effective,” Czyż explained . “In addition, aminoglycosides can have negative side effects, so using silver nanoparticles can allow a lower dose of antibiotics, reducing those side effects.”

The findings were surprising and exciting, said Autumn Dove, first author of the study and a doctoral student studying microbiology and cell science in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“When I first saw the results, my first thoughts were, ‘Wow, this is working!'” said Dove.

Over the past few decades, the overuse of antibiotics has led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a decline in the effectiveness of traditional antibiotic drugs, researchers said. Studies show that silver nanoparticles have the potential to improve the effectiveness of some of these drugs.

Let’s say you have a bad burn on your hand, and it’s infected with one of these stubborn types of bacteria,” said Dove. “It’s possible that an inflammatory dressing with a combination of silver nanoparticles and antibiotics could clear up that infection and prevent those resistant bacteria from spreading to other areas.”

Although antibiotics mainly attack bacteria, they can also damage human and animal cells. Using a microscopic worm called C. elegans, the researchers confirmed that the silver nanoparticles also did not make the antibiotics toxic to non-bacterial cells.

Based on the promising results of the study, the following scientists plan to seek FDA approval for clinical trials and work with UF Innovate to patent an antimicrobial product using silver nanoparticles.

The silver nanoparticles used in the study were made by Natural Immunogenics Corporation, which helped fund the study through the UF Industry Partnerships Matching Grant Program. This program brings UF researchers together with Florida-based technology and energy companies to research and develop new products.

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