In Vivo Photoacoustic and Photothermal Nano-Theranostics of Biofilms


Attacking Resistant Bacteria with Gold Nanoparticles


For many years the medical profession has had a good weapon to use to kill bacterial infections – anti-biotics.  Yet due to the evolution of bacteria, various strains of bacteria have developed resistance to almost every known anti-biotic.  One of the more well-known strains of resistant bacteria is Multi-Resistant Staphlococcus Aureus, or MRSA, which is estimated to be carried by up to 50 million people worldwide.  The mortality rate for MRSA infections is about 20%.  The number of species of bacteria that are resistant to bacteria is growing, increasing the need for a new way to combat these bacteria in the body.


One new and promising method is to use photo-acoustic nanoparticles, specifically, gold nanoparticles that are functionalized to target bacteria.  The gold nanoparticles are coated with material that has an affinity for the target bacteria so that the nanoparticles are attracted to the bacteria and stick to them. After the patient has been injected with the gold nanoparticles, a laser pulse is applied to the site of the infection, which causes the gold nanoparticles to vibrate rapidly, thus heating and destroying the bacteria. Because this method of killing the bacteria is not related to the chemistry of the bacteria, or its metabolism, the method is useful in cases where the bacteria form a film.  Antibiotics are not as effective against bacterial in films because of the low metabolism of these bacteria, and thus reduces their effectiveness.


The new treatment of resistant bacterial infections is patent-pending and is available for license.  For more information, contact:


Mark Swaney


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Patent Information:
App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Continuation in Part United States 14/728,849 6/2/2015    
For Information, Contact:
Susie Engle
University of Arkansas
Jingyi Chen
Mark Smeltzer
Daniel Meeker
Karen Beenken
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