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A team from Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland have developed an antibacterial gel that uses natural proteins to kill Pseudomonas aeruginosa, staphylococci and E.coli.
The gels are able to break down the biofilms (jelly-like coatings) that cover bacteria, which make them so resistant to current treatments. According to Science Daily, this gel doesn't harm healthy cells.
"When bacteria attach to surfaces, including medical implants such as hip replacements and catheters, they produce a jelly-like substance called the biofilm. This protective layer is almost impossible for current antibiotics to penetrate through. Therefore bacteria deep within this protective layer are resistant as they remain unexposed to the therapy. They grow and thrive on surfaces to cause infections that are very difficult to treat. The only option is often to remove the medical implant leading to further pain and discomfort for the patient. Our gels would prevent this," said Dr. Garry Laverty, lead researcher."
He adds: "Our gels are unique as they target and kill the most resistant forms of hospital superbugs. It involves the use of gels composed of the building blocks of natural proteins, called peptides. The same ingredients that form human tissue. These molecules are modified slightly in the laboratory to allow them to form gels that will rapidly kill bacteria."
The research was part of a collaboration with the School of Chemistry at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and will be published in the September issue of the journal Biomacromolecules.