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I-Corps: Polymeric Antibiotics for Drug-Resistant Infections


The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is providing a possible paradigm shift in antimicrobial therapy and in treating antibiotic resistant bacteria in a multitude of fields including healthcare, agriculture, water treatment, and veterinary. The ability to directly target drug resistant strains of various microbes can provide a vital impact on the state of global medicine. The CDC estimates more than 2 million people become infected with antibiotics resistant bacteria yearly, with at least 23,000 deaths due to antibiotic resistant infections. The use and availability of a natural nanomaterial that can innately affect the growth of various strains of microbes will enable wider access to antimicrobial applications. Aside from this potential for direct use, nano-antibiotics can also possibly be used to treat water systems, enabling a broad new market application.<br/><br/>This I-Corps project stems from the core technology which enables selective targeting of infections inside human patients while denying the bacteria access to the traditional mechanisms through which drug resistance develops. The aim is to address the need for modern solutions to drug-resistant infections with engineered nano-antibiotics that are capable of reversing drug resistance in bacteria. These nano-antibiotics combine the genetic specificity of nucleic acids with a physically-active vector with therapeutic capability. A stimuli-responsive function is added to allow the nanoparticle to be tunable to specific infections as needed, while maintaining a wide-spectrum usability. This therapeutic strategy is unique not just because gene silencing is used to remove drug resistant properties from multi-drug resistant bacteria, a delivery vector that has the capability to kill the microbe is also used. This approach is generalizable, and can potentially be implemented to treat any bacterial infection that has become resistant to conventional antibiotics.

Kwon, Young Jik
University of California - Irvine
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