Technology Effective Against Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogen
Vomaris Innovations, Inc. announced today the publication of results demonstrating that the company’s bioelectric V.Dox™ Technology is effective in killing antibiotic-resistant Candida albicans pathogens. The manuscript, “Ketoconazole Resistant Candida albicans is Sensitive to a Wireless Electroceutical Wound Care Dressing,” was published in Bioelectrochemistry https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bioelechem.2021.107921. The research was led by Chandan K. Sen, Ph.D., Director of the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering at Indiana University and Distinguished Professor and J. Stanley Battersby Professor of Surgery at the IU School of Medicine.
Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest global public health challenges of our time. Every year, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States, and 700,000+ people die globally. Meanwhile, the discovery of novel antimicrobials is not keeping up with the emergence of new superbugs. “Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time,” predicts Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO‘s Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation.
In the study, researchers sought to determine whether the wireless electroceutical wound care dressing or “WED”, was effective in managing pathogenic molecular processes employed by ketoconazole-resistant yeast Candida albicans. Candida albicans poses a major threat to skin and wound infection. It’s typically treated topically with the drug ketoconazole. However, ketoconazole-resistant pathogens are an emerging threat in the management of skin infection. The authors believe that the emergence of multidrug resistance in Candida albicans warrants the need for alternative, non-pharmacological methods of wound treatment.
Vomaris’s WED is powered by V.Dox™ Technology, is a proprietary pattern of embedded microcell batteries that wirelessly generates a low level of electricity in the presence of moisture. The research team used an in vitro model to test WED alone, ketoconazole alone, and the combination of WED + ketoconazole, against ketoconazole-resistant Candida albicans. Three controls were used, including no treatment, plain polyester fabric, and a fabric impregnated with silver.
The researchers found that WED functioned in a multi-pronged manner to effectively treat ketoconazole-resistant Candida albicans. Findings included:
- Prevented hyphal growth. The development of hyphae (long, branched filaments) is a critical part of C. albican’s growth cycle. Stopping hyphal growth prevents C. albicans from causing infection and subsequent tissue damage.
- Impaired efflux pump system. Damaging this system prevents C. albicans from rejecting helpful antibiotics.
- Damaged cell wall integrity. Weakening the cell wall structure allows antibiotics to reach the pathogen.
- Disrupted biofilm formation. C. albicans develops a biofilm ‘shield’ to protect it from immune system and antibiotic attack. WED interfered with its ability to form biofilm.
- In contrast, silver alone was ineffective in all experiments.
“This work presents clear evidence that the wireless electroceutical dressing kills ketoconazole-resistant Candida albicans,” said Dr. Sen. “Our findings introduce the option of a novel biophysical solution for fighting chronic wound infection in which antibiotic-resistant pathogens are prevalent.”
“These latest findings by Dr. Sen and team add to our growing body of evidence on the significant role electricity can play in combatting antibiotic-resistant pathogens. In this era of antibiotic stewardship, a wound care product that kills pathogens without the use of antibiotics is an important technological breakthrough,” said Vomaris President and CEO Michael Nagel. “Our V.Dox Technology is already FDA cleared and is the only bioelectric product of its kind in the marketplace today.”
IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.