Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Light activated treatments could solve MRSA problems after surgery

Killer dyes that can wipe out bacteria could help solve the superbug problems faced by surgical patients, scientists heard today (Wednesday 10 September 2008) at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn meeting being held this week at Trinity College, Dublin.

"We showed that 99% of the potentially dangerous Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in infected wounds can be killed using a green dye that gives off toxic molecules when it is activated by near-infrared light," said Dr Ghada Omar from University College London, UK.

Near-infrared light is commonly used in fibre-optics and telecommunications because it passes through glass easily. Researchers have now discovered that it can be used alongside a dye to kill bacteria that infect wounds and burns. The dye used, called indocyanine green, is harmless to humans and inactive in the dark. However, it gives off toxic molecules that rapidly kill the bacteria when it is triggered by the right light wavelengths.

"The chemicals produced when the dye is activated harm the bacteria in such a wide variety of ways that it is unlikely bacteria could ever develop resistance to the treatment," said Dr Omar. This makes it ideal - and possibly the only option - for treating infections with multiple drug resistant bacteria, including MRSA."

Infected wounds are a major problem for thousands of hospital patients every year, and up to 9% of hospital acquired infections occur during surgery, contributing to 77% of deaths from surgical operations. These infections increase the length of time patients must remain in hospital by an average of 10 days, increasing the cost to the NHS by up to two and a half times to as much as £2,400 per patient.

The new light-activated antimicrobial treatment is less effective when there are low oxygen levels in the infected tissues. This is a common problem in injuries where blood systems have been damaged, or where the injury is further away from the bodies' main vascular systems. The latest work from the University College London team shows that even with very low oxygen levels in the damaged tissues, most dangerous bacteria can still be killed using the light-activated dyes.

"Increasing oxygen levels in the infected tissues would maximise the killing effect", said Dr Omar. "But even with low oxygen levels a very wide range of bacteria were killed, including over 70% of Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus, which has become one of the most drug resistant bacteria in hospitals." Dr Omar's co-authors on the study include Michael Wilson and Sean Nair of the Division of Microbial Diseases, UCL Eastman Dental Institute.

The research is part of a programme looking for a simple, rapid and cheap alternative treatment for infected wounds and ulcers that do not respond to conventional antibiotics.

Lucy Goodchild | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

The gene of autumn colours

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Polymer scaffolds build a better pill to swallow

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>