Phages are viruses that thrive by infecting bacteria and have long been considered a potential alternative to antibiotics. However, antibiotics cause bacteria to mutate into dangerous, drug-resistant strains, and phages have their own risks, which evolve rapidly and pose unpredictable risks.
But new research suggests that it may be possible to mitigate these risks. In nature, specific phages can find and destroy specific types of bacteria. But here, researchers are only interested in using phages to deliver the payload of a gold nanostick, which, with the help of light, destroys both the target bacteria and their phages, and you can use the phage as a guidance system and the nanorod as the warhead of this particular antibacterial missile.
In the in vitro cultures of mammalian cells, when a combination of nanorods and phages is stimulated by light, they convert energy from light to heat, generating a high local temperature that kills bacteria and phages, the researchers said. In experiments, the combination successfully destroyed the powerful human pathogens E. coli, copper-green pseudomonas and Vibrio cholerae. It is important to note that the combination also destroys 20 percent of mammalian cells in cultures, which the study classifies as “low destruction rates.”
Research in nanotechnology and nanomedicine, which is involved in bacterial infections, shows that when it is not targeted, it does burden surrounding tissue. For now, the firm will continue to look for more phages for multiple bacteria and explore photothermal methods to treat multiple bacterial infections at a time. However, this work is still in the research stage and there are no recommendations for clinical use.