These infections are usually treated with a scale-and-plan method, which essentially means killing the bacteria and then prescribing oral antibiotics. This tends to work, but sometimes the bacteria come back and then you have to start the course of antibiotics again. The more often you take antibiotics, the greater the chance that bacteria will become resistant to them.
Antibiotic resistance is indeed a growing problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections occur in the United States each year, resulting in more than 35,000 deaths.
An Alternative Method of Antibiotic Administration for the Treatment of Aggressive Periodontitis
In previous work, researchers have shown that antibiotics can enter liposomes—small, round vesicles with one or more membranes that can be used as a delivery mechanism. They also showed that a toxin released by bacteria that causes periodontitis, called leukotoxin, triggers the release of antibiotics.
Leukotoxin fights the body’s immune response by binding to cholesterol in the membrane of white blood cells, disrupting the membrane and killing the cells. Thus, they create a liposome containing cholesterol.
Because most of the toxin will bind to the liposome instead of the host cells. When the toxin binds to the liposome, it should kill the disease-causing bacteria and trigger the release of antibiotics.
This new research will support cell culture work in the laboratory and determine whether the approach can protect host cells from the toxin while simultaneously killing bacterial cells. They will do this using a “co-culture” model in which human immune cells and bacterial cells are grown together.
They also like to continue to show the advantages of using controlled delivery strategies for antibiotics. Because the toxin they work with is closely related to those that cause diseases such as whooping cough, cholera and E. coli infections, this approach could be useful against a number of bacteria.
Looking at different delivery strategies for antibiotics represents a new direction. This is the first externally funded project to do this work, and supports the idea that this approach has great potential to tackle both disease and antibiotic resistance.