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Int J Nanomedicine. 2011;6:1463-73. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S22021. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Reducing infections through nanotechnology and nanoparticles.

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School of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI 02917, USA.


The expansion of bacterial antibiotic resistance is a growing problem today. When medical devices are inserted into the body, it becomes especially difficult for the body to clear robustly adherent antibiotic-resistant biofilm infections. In addition, concerns about the spread of bacterial genetic tolerance to antibiotics, such as that found in multiple drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), have significantly increased of late. As a growing direction in biomaterial design, nanomaterials (materials with at least one dimension less than 100 nm) may potentially prevent bacterial functions that lead to infections. As a first step in this direction, various nanoparticles have been explored for improving bacteria and biofilm penetration, generating reactive oxygen species, and killing bacteria, potentially providing a novel method for fighting infections that is nondrug related. This review article will first examine in detail the mechanisms and applications of some of these nanoparticles, then follow with some recent material designs utilizing nanotechnology that are centered on fighting medical device infections.


antibacterial; antibiotic resistance; biofilms; medical device infection; nanomaterials; nanoparticle

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