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A nanometer scale image of RPI's new carbon nanotube and lysostaphin-based anti-Staphylococcus aureus coating.  (Source: Rensselaer/Ravindra C.Pangule and Shyam Sundhar Bale)
New cyborg nanoparticle comes to the aid of the war on infections.

A little over two years ago, MIT researchers found that changing the stiffness of a surface by applying a thin film of polyelectrolyte helped to inhibit the growth of several infectious bacteria such as E. coli and S. epidermidis. The aim of the research was to help reduce hospital infections caused during or after surgeries or by other modes of infection.

Now, in a similar vein of research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers have developed a new nanocomposite that kills the dangerous bacteria S. aureus on contact. Staph infections are at the top end of hospital infections and this promising material could help further reduce the number of patients that come under their sometimes deadly purview.

The new material is composed of carbon nanotubes and a naturally occurring enzyme called lysostaphin. Lysostaphin is an enzyme produced by non-pathogenic strains of Staphylococcus to combat against the deadly S. aureus. The material can be mixed with many types of surface coatings or applied directly to surgical instruments or other hospital gear such as masks.

In a test, RPI researchers mixed a batch of the new nanoparticles with ordinary latex house paint. When they applied a solution of S. aureus to a surface painted with the mixture, in only 20 minutes, 100% of the S. aureus bacteria had been killed.

Not only is the nanoparticle completely effective, it is highly durable with a comparatively long shelf life of six months. Items coated with nanoparticles or with a paint mixture can be washed repeatedly with no detrimental effects to the abilities of the nanoparticles to destroy S. aureusbacteria.



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Almost..
By InvertMe on 8/17/2010 8:42:47 AM , Rating: 2
I was almost excited about this story. I am into lots of contact sports and my friends and I get staph infections occasionally. It would be nice to get something that fixed them up quicker after you got them. Good buddies have almost died to them several times..

Hopefully this translates into something more down the road.




RE: Almost..
By SSDMaster on 8/17/10, Rating: -1
RE: Almost..
By MrBlastman on 8/17/2010 9:52:04 AM , Rating: 2
It is a intriguing idea. Even if it is mixed with paint though, it has a shelf life of only 6 months, which I assume means after that the rooms in the hospital will need to be repainted again. I haven't ever worked in a hospital before but I'm pretty sure they don't repaint the rooms that often. My daughter was stuck in a hospital once and the paint in her room in one spot was scuffed off an nearly peeling off.

Also, they mention the surface can be washed over and over again. I realize the lysostaphin will kill the hostile staph bacterium, but, the function of the carbon tubes seem more like a repellant than a recepticle for the lysostaphin as washing the surface I would assume would dilute the lysostapin in the tubes--that is, if water molecules are small enough to invade them. Perhaps they are not.

I somehow don't see this mixture being used on surgical instruments unless it is in the form of paint. I remember reading elsewhere that carbon nanotubes are carcinogens.

Oh, and what on earth do you play that puts you at so much risk for staph... rugby?


RE: Almost..
By DoeBoy on 8/17/2010 10:31:22 AM , Rating: 1
Surgical Instruments are auto-claved or chemi-claved which staph can not survive at all. If they were going to include this nanoparticle in metals then they would use it but as far as cleaning instruments thats on lock. Most hospitals of a plethora of maintenance people that could easily paint a few rooms every 6 months if they were in high risk areas. I see this technology as only helping a problem that will continually grow as hospitals will continue fighting these terrible bacteria everywhere.


RE: Almost..
By fic2 on 8/17/2010 12:21:43 PM , Rating: 2
Surgical instruments are autoclaved and then immediately put on cloth that is not on a table that is not and held by a nurse who was not and passed to a surgeon who was not. Autoclaves only kill things that are on the instruments at the time they are put in the autoclave - hardly a "lock".


RE: Almost..
By DoeBoy on 8/17/2010 5:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
maybe we should just have everything held in a vacuum including the room. Anything to help a hospital deal with the spread of infection is important. I suppose more cleaning chemicals could do the job but prevention is probably the best way to go with all the money the hospitals will not be getting because of cuts in medicare


RE: Almost..
By InvertMe on 8/17/2010 10:39:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh, and what on earth do you play that puts you at so much risk for staph... rugby?


Wrestling, jiu jitsu, boxing, judo, muay thai... everything fun in life :)


RE: Almost..
By Iaiken on 8/17/2010 11:57:44 AM , Rating: 2
Weird... I've been practicing White Crane Kung Fu for 9 years now and while injuries are inevitable in sparing, tournaments and weapons training, I don't even know of anyone at our club that has gotten even a mild infection as a result of their injuries.

Might help that the club is kept in immaculate condition... The room with the padded floor is redone every year and the loose mats are re-jacketed on about the same interval. Hell, it's even the first club I've been to that didn't smell at all of BO and it gets to be over 33 degrees in there in the summer.


RE: Almost..
By InvertMe on 8/17/2010 1:53:03 PM , Rating: 3
I could be mistake but that discipline does not involve a lot of long time body on body contact does it? All it takes is one dirty person to spread ringworm and staph to an entire gym. If someone seems dirty to me when rolling I tell them to get off the mat and take a shower and wash their clothes. If they don't I go right to the gym owner and he will kick them out until they fix it. I got sick of taking lamisil baths to fight ringworm every week...


RE: Almost..
By Ammohunt on 8/17/2010 4:42:18 PM , Rating: 1
Guys rolling around on the floor with each other == ghey. Get a real sport like chess.


RE: Almost..
By DougF on 8/17/2010 10:53:48 AM , Rating: 2
Believe it or not, soccer has a lot of contact. I've seen staph spread between players on teams I was coaching. Had to ensure infected sites were properly covered at all times.


RE: Almost..
By geddarkstorm on 8/17/2010 12:31:42 PM , Rating: 2
This would only help prevent the spread of it in a hospital, that is the transmission step. After you've gotten it, that's a different issue, and this can't do squat for that.

The 6 month shelf life is probably how long the protein lasts. The CNTs are just a scaffold, the lysostaph protein is the actual weapon; as such, we can't use it in our bodies unfortunately.


RE: Almost..
By fic2 on 8/17/2010 7:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
I saw an article about some nano-cleaning solution - wish I could remember the name - that would kill pretty much any bacteria or virus. They had donated some to Doctors Without Borders to use. One of the doctors said they sprayed it into people during surgery (not approved) and they had close if not 0% infection rate even in 3rd world countries.


Nice
By qrhetoric on 8/17/2010 9:51:24 AM , Rating: 3
Nice to see a step forward. Know someone who died from an infection from a hospital.




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