Using light to kill MRSA

UCL Business and Ondine Biopharma have unveiled a device that can kill microbes such as MRSA using light and nanoparticles in a new way


Scientists from UCL Business and Ondine Biopharma have unveiled a device that can kills microorganisms such as MRSA using light and nanoparticles in a new way.



In research spanning several years, the researchers developed a nanotechnology-based photosensitiser that kills many more microbes at very small unit doses.



According to

Dr Cale Street
, director of research at Ondine Biopharma, the new nanoparticle photosensitiser is the most potent light-activated antimicrobial agent known to date.



It works by forming a covalent bond – a shared pair of electrons between two atoms – between gold nanoclusters and an existing photosensitiser to boost the bacterial killing efficacy. This means clinicians can use very low concentrations of photosensitiser to achieve greater than 99.99 per cent eradication of bacteria in seconds to minutes.



The companies say this will improve their ability to develop photodisinfection-based products for the clinical treatment of infections in wounds, burns and other conditions.



‘This development is the culmination of an intensive, cross-functional research effort to develop next-generation anti-MRSA photodisinfection agents,’ said Professor Michael Wilson, division of microbial diseases, University College London. ‘As resistance to antibiotics continues to increase in most of the major human pathogens, this powerful technology has great potential in the struggle against the growing prevalence of hospital-acquired infections.’



Ondine Biopharma owns exclusive rights to worldwide patent applications covering this photodisinfection technology. As well as eradicating MRSA from the nose and other areas, the technology could be used in the treatment of conditions such as periodontal diseases, otitis externa (swimmer’s ear), nailbed fungus and the disinfection of burns and wounds.