A Purdue University research team looking for ways to treat deadly, bacterial lung infections that have developed resistance to certain antibiotics has been awarded a $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
Gram-negative respiratory “superbugs” are among the top six dangerous multidrug-resistant microorganisms, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Assistant Professor Tony Zhou, one of the researchers at Purdue’s College of Pharmacy says there is an urgent need to develop alternative strategies for combating the antimicrobial crisis.
“Unfortunately, the progress to develop novel antibiotics is slow,” said Zhou.
He says one of the last line of defenses is an intravenous polymyxins, but Zhou says the antibiotic is not very effective because there’s very limited drug exposure at the infection site.
Zhou says new treatment strategies are needed to keep polymyxins as an effective weapon in the arsenal.
“The first NIH grant awarded three years ago enabled us to reinvent the old injectable drug, polymyxins, into a new inhalation therapy,” Zhou said. “We incorporated two synergistic antibiotics into a single microparticle and deliver them directly to the deep lungs, which not only maximizes its therapeutic efficacy but also reduces the systemic side effects.”
Zhou and his team have worked with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent their technologies.