Smart materials treating eye infections

contact lens and container

Eye infections are a common cause of blindness. Treatment can be difficult where there are no laboratories to identify the pathogens, and due to growing antibiotic resistance.

The Newton-Bhabha funded UK-India Centre for Advanced Technology Minimising Anti-Microbial Resistance, is developing novel systems that can be built into diagnostic contact lenses for the detection of infection in the eye, and a particulate delivery system that can administer the antibiotics needed by patients.

The core of the project is developing polymers that respond to bacteria by binding and then losing water, leading to significant changes in the properties of the polymers, which further enhances binding. The polymer bound bacteria will then be detected by a simple colorimetric test. The team is also exploring strategies to tackle antibiotic resistance, such as interfering with bacterial signalling molecules which slows multiplication and disrupts colonisation.

The work of the centre in developing new smart material solutions that prevent the excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics in one area of healthcare, will also find applications in the treatment of other infectious diseases.

Our work brings together aspects of unique polymer science in both synthesis and behaviour to tackle both detection of bacteria and targeted delivery of antibiotics. The project could only succeed by close working in a multi-disciplinary team including polymer science, clinical ophthalmology, microbiology and pharmacology.

Dr Prashant Garg

This project was shortlisted for Newton Prize 2017

UK-India Centre for Advanced Technology Minimising Anti-Microbial Resistance

Project leads: Professor Stephen Rimmer at University of Bradford, Dr Prashant Garg, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad and Dr Venkata Vamsi Krishna Venuganti PhD, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Hyderabad

Project partners: Medical Research Council and the Department of Biotechnology, India

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