In a recent report, the World Health Organisation classified antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to global health, food security, and development. Spreading of antibiotic resistance among pathogenic bacteria is an alarming issue, threatening to render most available antibiotics ineffective. Another medical condition that is on the rise are biofilm-associated infections in chronic wounds, that are related to conditions such as diabetes, venous hypertension and immune function suppression. In this project, we propose a new solution for fighting multidrug resistant infections, especially in chronic wounds. Our solution is based on a new antimicrobial drug developed by our partner SINTEF, and a platform for its delivery based on the advanced 2D material graphene.
With our interdisciplinary team, we propose to develop the technology for production of graphene-enhanced nanocomposites and nanoparticles. These carriers will be coated with graphene, which will promote drug incorporation. By optimizing the coating parameters, we will engineer an efficient cargo system for sustained drug delivery at the site of infection.
The key breakthrough we aim to accomplish in this project is based on specific advantages of graphene: i) its ability to physically penetrate the bacterial biofilm, and ii) its ability to serve as a loading point for large amounts of hydrophobic drugs. Our consortium will bring various experts (physics of 2D materials, microbiology, nanomaterial science, polymer chemistry, life science) together under one roof structure, working together to develop the next generation of delivery systems for antimicrobial drugs.
To accomplish this, we propose to build a Nordic research and innovation hub, comprising the following key partners:
- Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden): Expertise in graphene physics and synthesis, bio-applications of graphene and microbiology.
- SINTEF (Norway): Expertise with synthesis of novel antimicrobial drugs, polymer composite design, synthesis, functionalization and characterization of plasmonic nanoparticles.
- Technical University of Denmark - DTU (Denmark): Expertise in biosynthesis of green nanoparticles (plant origin), nanoparticle functionalization and their use against bacterial infections.