Blue light could treat superbug infections

April 02, 2019

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterium that causes infection in various parts of the body, is often called a "superbug" thanks to its ability to dodge many common antibiotics. Although most MRSA infections aren't serious, some can be life-threatening, sometimes resulting in amputation of the infected appendage.

Rather than rolling the dice with a multi-drug combination or wasting precious time trying to determine which medicine to prescribe, doctors could soon use a new method for disarming the superbugs: light therapy.

Researchers at Purdue University and Boston University have discovered that exposing the bug to blue light can render it defenseless against antiseptics as mild as hydrogen peroxide. The findings were published in the journal Advanced Science.

"This new tool can treat any superficial wound infected with MRSA, which are typically very difficult to treat," said Mohamed Seleem, a professor of microbiology at Purdue's College of Veterinary Medicine. "The device itself is very small and easy to use. We're hoping that in the next few years, anyone could carry it around in their purse."

Compared with a Neutrogena light therapy mask for acne, know this is much more portable and sensible. It looks like a small box with a hole for light to come through, which contains the light to the wound.

Some bacteria, including certain strains of staph, produce pigments. These pigments are associated with the organism's ability to damage the host, and if you know how to reduce the pigment, then, you might be able to reduce the organism's activity in the body. This practice is known as photobleaching.

"When you bleach something in the wash machine, you're extracting the color using chemicals. What we're doing here is similar, but we're using blue light," said Seleem, who researches antimicrobial resistance and infectious disease.

After achieving promising results in vitro, the researchers exposed mice with MRSA-infected wounds to different wavelengths of light. The infections responded especially well to light in the blue region, and combined with a low-concentration hydrogen peroxide, were reduced significantly.
-end-
The technology is patented through Purdue's Office of Technology Commercialization. Ji-Xin Cheng, a professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University, is working to arrange clinical trials through BU.

Purdue University

Related MRSA Articles from Brightsurf:

Widely available antibiotics could be used in the treatment of 'superbug' MRSA
Some MRSA infections could be tackled using widely-available antibiotics, suggests new research from an international collaboration led by scientists at the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Computer model shows how to better control MRSA outbreaks
A research team led by scientists at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health report on a new method to help health officials control outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a life-threatening antibiotic-resistant infection often seen in hospitals.

Using MRSA's strength against it
MRSA evolved to become a deadly killer because it's wily and resilient.

Livestock-associated MRSAfound among MRSA from humans
The survey results show more frequent detections and geographical dispersion of LA-MRSA in humans in the EU/EEA since 2007, and highlight the public health and veterinary importance of LA-MRSA as a 'One Health' issue.

Fighting MRSA with new membrane-busting compounds
Public health officials are increasingly concerned over methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Know thy enemy: Kill MRSA with tailored chemistry
UConn medicinal chemists have developed experimental antibiotics that kill MRSA, a common and often deadly bacteria that causes skin, lung, and heart infections.

MRSA uses decoys to evade a last-resort antibiotic
The superbug MRSA uses decoys to evade a last-resort antibiotic, reveals new research.

Scientists find a salty way to kill MRSA
Scientists have discovered a new way to attack Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

Experimental antibiotic treats deadly MRSA infection
A new experimental antibiotic developed by a team of scientists at Rutgers University successfully treats the deadly MRSA infection and restores the efficacy of a commonly prescribed antibiotic that has become ineffective against MRSA.

OU team develops new antibiotic to fight MRSA
A University of Oklahoma team of chemists has developed a new antibiotic formulation to fight the sometimes deadly staph infection caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus or MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant infectious bacteria.

Read More: MRSA News and MRSA Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.