In the fight against drug-resistant bacteria, MIT researchers have enlisted the help of beneficial bacteria known as probiotics.
In a new study, the researchers showed that by delivering a combination of antibiotic drugs and probiotics, they could eradicate two strains of drug-resistant bacteria that often infect wounds.
To achieve this, they encapsulated the probiotic bacteria in a protective shell of alginate, a biocompatible material that prevents the probiotics from being killed by the antibiotic.
“There are so many bacteria now that are resistant to antibiotics, which is a serious problem for human health. We think one way to treat them is by encapsulating a live probiotic and letting it do its job,” says Ana Jaklenec, a research scientist at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and one of the senior authors of the study.
If shown to be successful in future tests in animals and humans, the probiotic/antibiotic combination could be incorporated into dressings for wounds, where it could help heal infected chronic wounds, the researchers say.
Robert Langer, the David H Koch Institute Professor and a member of the Koch Institute, is also a senior author of the paper, which appeared recently in the journal 'Advanced Materials'. Zhihao Li, a former MIT visiting scientist, is the study’s lead author.