UrFU has proposed a new approach to the targeted treatment of bacterial infections


A new approach to the targeted treatment of bacterial infections has been proposed in the Russian Federation. It is based on a nanosystem with molybdenum and iron, which enables administration of an antibiotic with the use of an electric field. This was reported on Wednesday by the press service of the Ural Federal University (UrFU).

“Chemists of UrFU and St. Petersburg State University have proposed a new approach to targeted treatment of affected areas in the human body, in particular, in cases with bacterial infections. It is based on a nanosystem, the core of which is polyoxometallate: it contains molybdenum and iron, and tetracycline, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, is bound to the surface. This approach will make it possible to fight bacteria more effectively through targeted exposure,” TASS quotes.

The polyoxometallate ion is a charged nanoparticle that can be used as a base, the researchers say. It is as small as 2.5 nanometers. Due to this, it can easily penetrate into cells and pass through the walls of blood vessels. Scientists note that polyoxometallate, due to its charge, together with the drug attached to it, is delivered into the body under the influence of an electric field.

This makes it possible to deliver the drug by drug electrophoresis, which is an alternative to injections and droppers. When bacterial growth occurs in organs, doctors are often forced to inject high doses of drugs, since only a small part of the dose reaches the right place; also, injections can be painful and are not always safe. Electrophoretic drug delivery could reduce unpleasant sensations in patients and increase safety, scientists say.

Experiments on cell cultures have shown that polyoxometallate as a basis for a nanosystem can be promising for other classes of drugs, for example, anti-cancer therapies. It is also planned to test the ability of such nanoparticles to overcome the natural barriers of immune-privileged organs such as the brain, eyeballs, thymus, etc. For example, in the case of the brain, the blood-brain barrier not only protects it from the penetration of toxic substances, but also complicates the administration of drugs, which makes it difficult to treat brain diseases. In such cases, targeted delivery nanosystems can help.

The scientists plan to continue their research in order to eventually develop a functioning nanosystem. “Ideally, we want to create a system of targeted delivery of a variety of drugs with polyoxometallate. It may probably have some kind of biocompatible shell on the outside to exclude the reaction of the immune system: after entering the bloodstream, the nanosystem must penetrate to the affected area and release the drug there. The second option is the introduction of the nanosystem with the use of electrophoresis,”  explains Margarita Tonkushina, a researcher at the Department of Chemical Materials Science and the  Nanocluster Polyoxometallates Functional Design Laboratory of UrFU.

At the end of October 2022, UrFU announced plans to start production of a drug codenamed AB-19 for the prevention and treatment of diabetes complications by 2030.