IIT Hyderabad designs new drug delivery system to cure fungal infections

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Updated on Jan 29, 2020 14:23 IST

Based on essential oils, this technique can also decrease the threat of prompting drug resistance in the fungus. Moreover, it can tackle those fungi that have developed resistance to generic antifungal drugs.

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad is in the news these days for providing treatment of fungal infections. A group of researchers from IIT Hyderabad has created an innovative drug delivery system. This technique can also decrease the threat of prompting drug resistance in the fungus which is based on essential oils. Moreover, it can tackle those fungi that have developed resistance to generic antifungal drugs.

The research was spearheaded by Dr. Mudrika Khandelwal, Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad. The funding for the research was done by the Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Grants from the American multinational conglomerate AT&T.

One of the ways to tackle this challenge is to craft an appropriate carrier system that can provide protection to the oils and release them in meticulously so that the antifungal action can be fully utilised. Polylactic acid microcapsules were chosen by the research team to make use of the essential oil ingredients. Polylactic acid polymers are biodegradable and biocompatible and are already broadly used in the medical field. Using the microcapsules as the carrier could lead to uncontrolled, burst release of the components, as per the researchers.

The researchers designed another level of protection to delay the release of active principles. In this protection level, polylactic acid microcapsules were further contained into a secondary barrier made of nanofibrous bacterial cellulose. The researchers also improved the anti-fungal activity of their formulation by using combinations of thymol, carvacrol, and eugenol.

The research paper was published in Materialia. Shivakalyani Adepu, PhD student of Dr Khandelwal, has co-written the paper.

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