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Acta Biomater. 2017 Dec;64:301-312. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2017.10.001. Epub 2017 Oct 3.

Sustained antimicrobial activity and reduced toxicity of oxidative biocides through biodegradable microparticles.

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Division of Medicine, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.
Environmental Research Laboratory, University College Hospital, 235 Euston Road, London NW1 2BU, UK.
School of Pharmacy, University College London, Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AX, UK.
GAMA Healthcare Ltd, 2 Regal Way, Watford WD24 4YJ, UK.
Division of Medicine, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK. Electronic address:


The spread of antibiotic-resistant pathogens requires new treatments. Small molecule precursor compounds that produce oxidative biocides with well-established antimicrobial properties could provide a range of new therapeutic products to combat resistant infections. The aim of this study was to investigate a novel biomaterials-based approach for the manufacture, targeted delivery and controlled release of a peroxygen donor (sodium percarbonate) combined with an acetyl donor (tetraacetylethylenediamine) to deliver local antimicrobial activity via a dynamic equilibrium mixture of hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid. Entrapment of the pre-cursor compounds into hierarchically structured degradable microparticles was achieved using an innovative dry manufacturing process involving thermally induced phase separation (TIPS) that circumvented compound decomposition associated with conventional microparticle manufacture. The microparticles provided controlled release of hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid that led to rapid and sustained killing of multiple drug-resistant organisms (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and carbapenem-resistant Escherichia coli) without associated cytotoxicity in vitro nor intracutaneous reactivity in vivo. The results from this study demonstrate for the first time that microparticles loaded with acetyl and peroxygen donors retain their antimicrobial activity whilst eliciting no host toxicity. In doing so, it overcomes the detrimental effects that have prevented oxidative biocides from being used as alternatives to conventional antibiotics.


The manuscript explores a novel approach to utilize the antimicrobial activity of oxidative species for sustained killing of multiple drug-resistant organisms without causing collateral tissue damage. The results demonstrate, for the first time, the ability to load pre-cursor compounds into porous polymeric structures that results in their release and conversion into oxidative species in a controlled manner. Until now, the use of oxidative species has not been considered as a candidate therapeutic replacement for conventional antibiotics due to difficulties associated with handling during manufacture and controlling sustained release without causing undesirable tissue damage. The ultimate impact of the research could be the creation of new materials-based anti-infective chemotherapeutic agents that have minimal potential for giving rise to antimicrobial resistance.


Antibiotics; Antimicrobial agent; Oxidative biocide; Resistance; Thermally induced phase separation

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