This smart hydrogel dressing releases antibiotics when it detects bacteria


American scientists have developed a new material capable of releasing drugs only in the presence of pathogenic bacteria. Used as a dressing, this hydrogel could release certain compounds when infections occur.

Intelligent hydrogels to combat antibiotic resistance

Overuse of antibiotics is one of the main contributors to drug resistance in bacteria. While administering the right amount at the right time can slow this process down, determining the right dosage is complex. For this new study, researchers atUniversity of Brown has developed a smart material that only releases its drug load when it detects bacteria.

L’hydro gel consists of a cross-linked network of polymers that can safely absorb a real load of nanoparticles such as antibiotics. However, the material was designed to break down these polymers when they encounter enzymes known as beta-lactamases, which are produced by many pathogenic bacteria. This has the effect of releases the right amount of nanoparticles.

Beta-lactamases are one of the main causes of antibiotic resistance because they destroy beta-lactams, which are among the most commonly prescribed antibiotics “, To explain Anita SchuklaLead author of the new study, published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. ” We took this bacterial defense mechanism and turned it against them.. »

—Christoph Burgstedt /

A high degree of selectivity

The team tested the technique in the lab on groups of bacteria and pig skin samples, using fluorescent nanoparticles that can be easily tracked. As expected, the hydrogel released its payload in response to beta-lactamase-producing bacteria, while contact with other bacterial enzymes did not degrade its structure. What demonstrates high selectivity of approach.

We have developed an intelligent bacteria-triggered drug delivery system “, estimated Schukla. “ Such approaches reduce the amount of drugs needed for effective treatment and may also reduce side effects and the potential for resistance.. »

Similar controlled-release hydrogels had previously been tested to release anti-cancer drugs in response to the acidity and temperatures of a tumor microenvironment.

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