Enhancing treatments for severe bone infections in children.’
Many infections are due to “biofilms”, consisting of bacteria in a slime matrix which can tolerate high levels of antibiotics. Children who have acute haematogenous osteomyelitis, a severe bone infection, can need 6 weeks of antibiotic treatment, or even surgery, with over a week in hospital. Māori and Pasifika children are more likely to have severe bone infections than other children.
Assoc Prof Simon Swift and his team have shown that a milk protein, lactoferrin, can penetrate and disrupt the biofilm, and therefore enable antibiotics to be more effective against biofilms in the laboratory. They aim to develop a method using nano-particles to effectively deliver lactoferrin to biofilms during surgery. If successful, they will take their treatment to clinical trials to test whether the treatments is safe and effective for children with severe bone infections.
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