Purdue Researchers Fighting Lung Superbugs

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Purdue University researchers are devising new ways to treat the world's fourth-leading cause of death: lower respiratory infections. Lung infections are often caused by 'superbugs' that are resistant to all available antibiotics, but researchers say they have created a drug formula that has shown progress in fighting them.

“We are providing a promising option to fight the global crisis of antimicrobial resistance,” said Qi (Tony) Zhou, an assistant professor in Purdue’s College of Pharmacy, who leads the research team. “It has been a worldwide challenge to incorporate two antibiotics with different chemical properties into a single particle. Our novel formulation allows for a much more effective killing of drug-resistant bacteria in the deep lungs as two synergistic antibiotics can be simultaneously delivered to the same infection site.”

The new technology is a dry powder designed to help treat a variety of lung infections, including for patients with cystic fibrosis and ventilator-assisted pneumonia. Zhou says the Purdue powder allows over 60-percent of drugs to be administered to the lungs compared with 10-percent for a jet nebulizer. 

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization has filed a patent on the 2-in-1 powder aerosol, and researchers are actively searching for partners to continue development. 

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