IBM, The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology develop new antimicrobial hydrogel
Researchers from IBM and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have developed a new antimicrobial hydrogel that can break through diseased biofilms and completely eradicate drug-resistant biofilms and completely eradicate drug-resistant bacteria on contact.
The synthetic hydrogel, that forms spontaneously when heated to body temperature, is the first -ever to be biodegradable, biocompatible and non-toxic, making it an ideal tool to combat serious health hazards facing hospital workers, visitors and patients.
Antimicrobials can be used for disinfecting various surfaces and can be found in traditional household items like alcohol and bleach. Moving from countertops to treating drug resistant skin infections or infectious diseases in the body are proving to be more challenging as conventional antibiotics become less effective and many household surface disinfectants are not suitable for biological applications.
IBM Research and its collaborators developed a remoldable synthetic antimicrobial hydrogel, comprised of more than 90% water, if commercialized is ideal for applications including creams or injectable therapeutics for wound healing, implant and catheter coatings, skin infections or even orifice barriers.
Dr Yi-Yan Yang, Group Leader, Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, Singapore said,“We were driven to develop a more effective therapy against superbugs due to the lethal threat of infection by these rapidly mutating microbes and the lack of novel antimicrobial drugs to fight them.
Using the inexpensive and versatile polymer materials that we have developed jointly with IBM, we can now launch a nimble, multi-pronged attack on drug-resistant biofilms which would help to improve medical and health outcomes.”
The IBM nanomedicine polymer program, which started in IBM’s Research labs only four years ago with the mission to improve human health-stems from decades of materials development traditionally used for semiconductor technologies.
This advance will expand the scope of IBM and IBN’s collaborative program, which allows scientists to simultaneously pursue multiple methods to create materials to improve medicine and drug discovery.