Using Quantum Dots In Antibacterial Eye Drops

Researchers have developed a one-step method to make carbon quantum dots that can kill the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause keratitis.

AsianScientist (July 21, 2017) – Taiwanese researchers have created quantum dots that may one day be used in eye-drops to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They report their findings in ACS Nano.

According to the United States (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one million people in the US develop an eye infection known as bacterial keratitis every year. The infection causes the cornea to become inflamed, and if left untreated, can lead to vision loss. Current treatments include steroid drops, but these medications can lead to scarring of the cornea.

In recent years, researchers have turned to antibacterial nanomaterials such as quantum dots to treat bacterial keratitis, but some of these substances are toxic to human cells. Hence, we currently still lack nanomedicines that are safe and effective.

In this study, a team led by Professor Lai Jui-Yang from Chang Gung University and Professor Huang Chih-Ching from National Taiwan Ocean University, both in Taiwan, developed a new treatment for eye infections by coating carbon quantum dots with spermidine, a compound known to have antibacterial properties. Their coating method involved a simple one-step reaction—heating the spermidine.

When used to treat infected animals, their modified quantum dots could destroy bacteria cells without causing harm to the animals. In addition, the quantum dots were lethal to various bacterial strains that are resistant to multiple antibiotics.

The team said that the new quantum dots are a potential alternative to conventional bacterial keratitis eye drop treatments.

The article can be found at: Jian et al. (2017) Super-Cationic Carbon Quantum Dots Synthesized from Spermidine as an Eye Drop Formulation for Topical Treatment of Bacterial Keratitis.

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