Dental News - Researchers to develop novel antibiotic delivery system to treat aggressive periodontitis

Search Dental Tribune

Researchers to develop novel antibiotic delivery system to treat aggressive periodontitis

In a new project, researchers from Lehigh University in the US are seeking to encapsulate antibiotics inside the host cells in order to treat aggressive forms of periodontitis associated with Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. (Image: Alex Mit/Shutterstock)

BETHLEHEM, Pa., US: Aggressive forms of periodontitis associated with Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans are often difficult to treat with traditional therapy, and very few new treatment options have been developed in recent years. Since the bacteria produce a leukotoxin that kills host immune cells during infection, thus reducing the host’s ability to fight off the infection, researchers are now seeking to develop a liposome-based, leukotoxin-responsive antibiotic delivery vehicle to treat aggressive periodontitis in adolescents. The results will help establish a basis for the future development of leukotoxin-focused therapeutics.

According to a recent report, 4.95 million deaths per year are associated with resistant bacteria, and at least 1.27 million yearly deaths are directly attributable to antimicrobial resistance. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that more than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections occur every year in the US alone, leading to over 35,000 deaths.

Researchers from Lehigh University in the US were recently awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a non-surgical drug delivery system that will enable a controlled delivery of antibiotics to treat aggressive periodontitis. In their project, they will be using a co-culture model, which allows for human immune cells and bacterial cells to be cultivated together.

Lead researcher Dr Angela Brown. (Image: Lehigh University)

“The way these infections are typically treated is by scaling and planing, which essentially means scraping off the bacteria, and then prescribing oral antibiotics,” lead researcher Dr Angela Brown, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Lehigh University, said in a press release. “And while that tends to work, sometimes the bacteria come back, and then you have to start the course of antibiotics all over again. The more frequently you take antibiotics, the greater the chances the bacteria will become resistant to them,” she continued.

In their previous work, Dr Brown and her team have shown that antibiotics can be encapsulated in liposomes and used as a delivery mechanism. Additionally, they have shown that the leukotoxin released by the bacteria triggers the release of antibiotics.

“Leukotoxin fights the body’s immune response by binding with cholesterol in the membrane of white blood cells, disrupting the membrane and killing the cells,” Dr Brown explained. “We’re creating a liposome that has cholesterol, and we’re hoping that all or most of the toxin will bind onto the liposome instead of the host cells,” she commented and added that once the toxin binds to the liposome, it should lead to a release of the antibiotics, thus killing the disease-causing bacteria.

Dr Brown believes that using a controlled antibiotic delivery system could help to treat not only aggressive periodontitis but also other diseases. “Because this toxin we’re working with is closely related to those that cause diseases like whooping cough and cholera and E. coli infections, this approach could be useful against a range of bacteria,” she concluded.

More information about the research project, titled “Controlled antibiotic delivery vehicle for treatment of aggressive periodontitis”, can be found here.

To post a reply please login or register