ChE Professor and Chair Thomas Webster Featured in Medical News Today for Research in Silver Nanoparticle-Embedded Polymersome Nanocarriers

On the Medical News Today website, the article “Synthetic immune cells: a possible solution to antibiotic resistance?” features the research of Thomas Webster, Professor and Department Chair, Chemical Engineering and Art Zafiropoulo Chair in Engineering. Medical News Today is a web-based outlet for medical news, targeted to both physicians and the general public.

Webster and colleagues have created synthetic immune cells, referred to as polymersomes. The team of Thomas Webster focuses on boosting the immune system as a key defense against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. By creating synthetic immune cells, various infections can be fought including antibiotic-resistant E. coli. The primary focus of Webster’s research is the design, synthesis, and evaluation of nanomaterials for various medical applications.

"They can significantly aid someone who has a failing immune system, or for someone who needs a little bit of help fighting a large number of bacteria or even viruses," Dr. Webster told Medical News Today. Webster adds, "They are sort of like an extra boost of energy for our existing immune system, which most of us will need at least once in our lifetimes to fight a disease."

In a study published in the journal Nanoscale in January last year, the team tested the polymersomes against a type of ampicillin-resistant Escherichia coli.

Dr. Webster explained to MNT that the polymersomes attract and bond to the bacteria before releasing the silver nanoparticles inside them, delivering the drug at the same time.

The team is now working on creating synthetic immune cells incorporating lysosomes, which Dr. Webster described as "acidic capsules inside immune cells that kill bacteria."

Related Departments:Chemical Engineering