"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
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy