Issue Date: August 6, 2007
Antifungalhydrogels thwart infections
Fungal infections are a potentially serious complication stemming from implanted medical devices. But newly developed antifungal hydrogels could be used as a coating for medical implants, helping to ward off such infections. A team led by Daniel S. Kohane of Children's Hospital, Boston; Robert Langer of MIT; and Gerald R. Fink of the Whitehead Institute, Cambridge, Mass., has developed a dextran-based hydrogel loaded with the antifungal compound amphotericin B (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0705250104). The hydrogel, made by soaking cross-linked dextran disks in a dimethylformamide solution containing amphotericin B, kills fungi within two hours of contact and maintains its effectiveness against the fungus Candida albicans for at least 53 days. So far, the researchers have shown that the biocompatible material is effective at killing fungi when implanted in mice. An amphotericin-containing hydrogel made of the polysaccharide inulin also is effective against fungi, the researchers report.
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