Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (SPION) for the Treatment of Antibiotic-Resistant Biofilms

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Abstract

Bacterial infections caused by antibiotic-resistant strains are of deep concern due to an increasing prevalence, and are a major cause of morbidity in the United States of America. In particular, medical device failures, and thus human lives, are greatly impacted by infections, where the treatments required are further complicated by the tendency of pathogenic bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, to produce antibiotic resistant biofilms. In this study, a panel of relevant antibiotics used clinically including penicillin, oxacillin, gentamicin, streptomycin, and vancomycin are tested, and although antibiotics are effective against free-floating planktonic S. aureus, either no change in biofilm function is observed, or, more frequently, biofilm function is enhanced. As an alternative, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) are synthesized through a two-step process with dimercaptosuccinic acid as a chelator, followed by the conjugation of metals including iron, zinc, and silver; thus, the antibacterial properties of the metals are coupled to the superparamagnetic properties of SPION. SPION might be the ideal antibacterial treatment, with a superior ability to decrease multiple bacterial functions, target infections in a magnetic field, and had activity better than antibiotics or metal salts alone, as is required for the treatment of medical device infections for which no treatment exists today.

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