Research Topic

Molecular Self-assembly Inspired Advanced Materials Against Antibiotic-resistant Pathogens

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Presently, advanced functional biomaterials are widely used in health sciences such as nanomedicine, nanofabrication, coating of medical devices, tissue engineering, drug delivery, contact lenses, wound healing and cosmetics with the aim to improve the quality-of-life. Nevertheless, the main issue of their ...

Presently, advanced functional biomaterials are widely used in health sciences such as nanomedicine, nanofabrication, coating of medical devices, tissue engineering, drug delivery, contact lenses, wound healing and cosmetics with the aim to improve the quality-of-life. Nevertheless, the main issue of their successful application remains their biocompatibility. Materials being developed via self-assembly mechanisms are of great interest for biomedical companies and are intended to perform multiple roles for specific health care applications. Self-assembly is a spontaneous process in which molecules are self-organized into the well-defined stable nanoparticles and macrostructures, in which the system minimizes the surface energy to reach a state closer to the thermodynamic equilibrium. Both, bottom-up and top-down mechanisms are well established in self-assembly approach for the development of organic nanocarrier including lipids (liposomes and solid-lipid nanoparticles) peptide-based amphiphilic molecules, non-degradable and biodegradable polymers and dendrimers to deliver antimicrobial drugs in the infected areas. Hydrogels or ointments are the other type of self-assembled hydrophilic polymer of peptides or organic molecules, which form three dimensional cross-linked structures by means of noncovalent interaction and secondary forces including ionic, H-bonding or hydrophobic interaction and Van-der Waals forces.

Nosocomial infections are hospital-acquired infections that are either endemic or epidemic. The endemic infections are common and controllable. However, epidemic infections occur from rapid increases of an infecting organism above the baseline. In recent modern diagnostic procedures such as biopsies, endoscopic examination, catheterization and surgical procedures, contaminated objects are directly introduced into the tissues or infected site, leading to the enhanced of infection. These infections are caused by microorganisms originating from the use of medical devices, delivery of therapeutic agents, or drainage of body fluids during patient care, eventually leading to the colonization and biofilm formation. More than 80% of infections are device-related, inclusding, for example, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, vascular-associated infections and ventilator-associated pneumonias. The most frequent nosocomial infections affect the urinary tract, surgical wound sites infections and the lower respiratory tract.

The emergence of antibiotic resistance in a large number of pathogens is a major health concern. Presently, pathogens are mostly resistant to several antibiotics, which undermine the ability of antibiotics to control the infections. Therefore, suppression of biofilm-associated infections via coating on medical devices using antibacterial biofilm-resistant self-assembled polymer material is a convenient way to control them. Peptides/ lipopeptides represent the ideal building blocks for the synthesis of co-polymer hydrogel, amphiphiles, and nanoparticles. Currently, the search for new antimicrobial molecules to control antibiotic-resistant pathogens, development of new materials for delivery and sustained release of antimicrobial drug in target wound or infected sites represents a major challenge.

This Research Topic will consider the range of works utilizing ‘bottom-up’ or ‘top-down’ self-assembled strategies to build the highly ordered self-assembled structures as functional antimicrobial material with potential for the treatment of wounds, injuries, disease and targeted antibiotic delivery to infected areas. We also welcome contributions researching the hydrogel or highly tunable self-assembled materials that are based on organic molecules, peptides, siRNA or shRNA, DNA, proteins, or RNA/DNA-protein/polymer hybrids and metal nano- polymer hybrids. Applications in the treatment of wound healing, injuries and coating on medical devices to control the biofilm formation by the pathogens are also considered. The contributions in any format defined by Frontiers are acceptable.


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