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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jun;51(6):2156-63. Epub 2007 Apr 2.

Targeted drug-carrying bacteriophages as antibacterial nanomedicines.

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Green Building Room 202, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel.


While the resistance of bacteria to traditional antibiotics is a major public health concern, the use of extremely potent antibacterial agents is limited by their lack of selectivity. As in cancer therapy, antibacterial targeted therapy could provide an opportunity to reintroduce toxic substances to the antibacterial arsenal. A desirable targeted antibacterial agent should combine binding specificity, a large drug payload per binding event, and a programmed drug release mechanism. Recently, we presented a novel application of filamentous bacteriophages as targeted drug carriers that could partially inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. This partial success was due to limitations of drug-loading capacity that resulted from the hydrophobicity of the drug. Here we present a novel drug conjugation chemistry which is based on connecting hydrophobic drugs to the phage via aminoglycoside antibiotics that serve as solubility-enhancing branched linkers. This new formulation allowed a significantly larger drug-carrying capacity of the phages, resulting in a drastic improvement in their performance as targeted drug-carrying nanoparticles. As an example for a potential systemic use for potent agents that are limited for topical use, we present antibody-targeted phage nanoparticles that carry a large payload of the hemolytic antibiotic chloramphenicol connected through the aminoglycoside neomycin. We demonstrate complete growth inhibition toward the pathogens Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Escherichia coli with an improvement in potency by a factor of approximately 20,000 compared to the free drug.

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