Nav: Home

Research on nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles reveals viable skin infection treatment

July 31, 2017

WASHINGTON (July 31, 2017) -- George Washington University (GW) researchers have found that topically applied nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles (NO-np) are a viable treatment for deep fungal infections of the skin caused by dermatophytes, for which the current standard of care is treatment with systemic antifungals.

Dermatophytosis, or ringworm, is a fungal infection of the skin, hair, or nails that affects millions of people around the world. While superficial infections can often be managed with topical agents, fungal infections which infiltrate the hair follicle or into deeper layers of the skin can only be effectively treated with oral or systemic antifungal therapies. Topical antifungals offer limited penetration through the skin.

"Systemic antifungals, while effective, can come with some baggage, given the duration of treatment can be lengthy. They are also known for their ability to adversely interact with many commonly used medications such as blood thinners and anti-hypertensives, or even cause various side effects themselves," said Adam Friedman, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and senior author of the study. "The purpose of this study was to explore whether nanotechnology -- materials that are billionths of a meter -- could be used to overcome need for systemic medications, which would ultimately be safer and easier on the patient."

Friedman and collaborators at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine turned to nitric oxide, a natural, gaseous immunomodulator with broad-spectrum, multi-faceted antimicrobial activity, as the ideal agent for treatment.

"While we have known for decades that nitric oxide has tremendous potential in so many areas of medicine, its use has been limited due to the lack of effective delivery systems," Friedman said. "Here we used a well-studied nanoparticle that can actually make nitric oxide, not just release it, and deliver therapeutic levels over time to attack these deep and difficult to reach infections."

In an animal model, the research team found that NO-np facilitated a quicker, more impactful response to treatment over the commercially available topical terbinafine, showing 95 percent of infection clearance by the third day of treatment. These findings are in line with multiple previous reports utilizing the NO-np against fungal and bacterial surgical wound and burn infection.

"The next step is to scale up the technology for clinical trial use in several therapeutic areas given the diverse clinical implications of the nitric oxide producing nanoformulation, as well as the platform overall given its unique ability to encapsulate and deliver a broad range of active ingredients," Friedman explained. "Dermatophyte infections impact such a large, diverse population, so it's important to find new treatments that are safe and more effective for all patients."
"Topical Nitric Oxide Releasing Nanoparticles are Effective in a Murine Model of Dermal Trichophyton rubrum Dermatophytosis" in Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine is available at

Media: To interview Dr. Friedman, please contact Ashley Rizzardo at or 202-994-8679.

About the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences:

Founded in 1824, the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) was the first medical school in the nation's capital and is the 11th oldest in the country. Working together in our nation's capital, with integrity and resolve, the GW SMHS is committed to improving the health and well-being of our local, national and global communities.

George Washington University

Related Fungal Infections Articles:

Fruity with a note of fungus: How fungal infections change the aroma of wine
A recent study examining how two common types of fungal infection affect the aroma of wine reveals that both bunch rot (Botrytis cinerea) and powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) do in fact change the aroma of wine, due to changes in chemical aroma substance composition.
Fungal enzymes team up to more efficiently break down cellulose
Cost-effectively breaking down bioenergy crops into sugars that can then be converted into fuel is a barrier to commercially producing sustainable biofuels.
Discovered a key mechanism in the plant defense against fungal infections
Fungi cause important crop losses and pose a serious risk for human and animal health.
Surgical site infections are the most common and costly of hospital infections
The Journal of the American College of Surgeons has published updated guidelines for the prevention, detection and management of surgical site infections, which affect as many as 300,000 patients per year in the United States.
Better diagnosis of fungal infections key to reducing antibiotic resistance
Poor diagnosis worldwide of fungal disease causes doctors to overprescribe antibiotics, increasing harmful resistance to antimicrobial drugs, according to a paper published today in Emerging Infectious Diseases.
More Fungal Infections News and Fungal Infections Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...