(NaturalNews) Silver-based nanoparticles may prove the most effective method yet of delivering pneumonia medications, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine and the University of Akron, Ohio, and presented at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society.
Researchers infected a group of mice with the bacteria Pseudomona aeroginosa, a common cause of bacterial pneumonia in humans, especially those on ventilators, those with cystic fibrosis or those with compromised immune systems. All the mice then inhaled aerosolized nanoparticles once per day. In half of the mice, these particles contained antimicrobial particles known as silver carbene complexes (SCCs).
Mice that inhaled the SCCs had significantly lower concentrations of bacteria in their lungs than mice inhaling placebo nanoparticles. Most significantly, none of the mice in the SCC group died, while all the mice in the control group did.
"We were surprised and thrilled to see a 100 percent survival advantage in mice treated daily with SCC22-loaded nanoparticles at doses significantly lower than those used to achieve a similar survival advantage in twice-daily dosing of unencapsulated SCC22," researcher Carolyn L. Cannon said. "During a 72-hour period, all of the infected control mice died, whereas all of the mice that received just two doses of SCC22-loaded nanoparticles spaced 24 hours apart survived."
The researchers noted that in addition to proving effective as an antimicrobial, SCC nanoparticles could also lead to better health outcomes by increasing patient compliance. Patients are significantly more likely to take all the recommended doses of medications that are needed only once daily than they are with drugs that must be taken twice a day, as with the typical inhaled treatment for P. aeroginosa.
Cannon and colleagues are now investigating whether there are any toxic side effects of the SCC nanoparticle treatment. If none are found, they plan to move on to human clinical trials.