Non-antibiotic gel heals wounds in two ways
Polysporin may be in for some serious competition, as Swedish scientists have created a healing gel that not only kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but also reduces inflammation within wounds. It could someday replace antibiotic-based medications.
Being developed at Lund University, the gel contains a type of peptide known as TCP-25.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids that occur naturally in the body, and although they do help prevent infections by killing harmful bacteria at wound sites, they're sometimes "outgunned" if bacterial populations are too high. The gel works by introducing more peptides, thus levelling the playing field.
Additionally, peptides have been shown to inactivate molecules called lipopolysaccharides, which are found in the cell walls of bacteria. Ordinarily, these molecules produce an inflammatory response in the host organism – if that inflammation gets out of control, the healing of wounds is delayed.
In lab tests performed on rats and pigs, the gel reduced wound inflammation within 24 hours of application. It then proceeded to significantly reduce populations of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, over a three- to four-day period.
The university is now working with Swedish biomedical startup in2cure in order to commercialize the technology, with hopes that it could soon be used in clinical trials on human burn victims. That said, the possibilities don't end with the treatment of external wounds.
"We will also look into the possibility of developing new peptide-based drugs for eye infections and infections in other internal organs," says the lead scientist, Prof. Artur Schmidtchen. "It could become a new way of treating both infection and inflammation without using antibiotics."
A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Source: Lund University