NO-Releasing Nanoparticles Viable Treatment for Deep Fungal Infections of the Skin

NO-Releasing Nanoparticles Viable Treatment for Deep Fungal Infections of the Skin

Scientists at George Washington University have developed an innovative treatment for deep fungal infections of the skin using nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles.

Deep fungal infections of the skin caused by dermatophytes – dermatophytosis– are common. Standard treatments include the use of topical antifungals to manage the symptoms, although treatment for deep fungal infections of the skin requires oral drugs and systemic antifungal therapies. Topical treatments have poor penetration into the deeper layers of the skin. While current antifungal treatments are effective, treatments must be administered for a long duration.

This can lead to problems, as medications can interact with other drugs such as those used to treat hypertension. The treatments themselves can also have adverse side effects which must be endured for the length of treatment. Researchers at GWU have investigated a possible alternative.

Nitric oxide has broad spectrum antimicrobial activity and has potential to be an ideal compound for treating deep fungal infections of the skin; however, the problem is administering nitric oxide and getting it to the site of infection.

Adam Friedman, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and lead author of the study said, “Dermatophyte infections impact such a large, diverse population, so it’s important to find new treatments that are safe and more effective for all patients.”

Friedman and his team of researchers at GWU conducted their study to determine whether nitric oxide could be used for treating deep fungal infections of the skin using nanoparticles to deliver it to the layers of the skin where it was needed.

Friedman, “While we have known for decades that nitric oxide has tremendous potential in so many areas of medicine, its use has been limited due to the lack of effective delivery systems.”

Friedman and his team decided to use a well-studied nanoparticle that can makes nitric oxide, using them to deliver nitric oxide to treat difficult to reach fungal infections.

For the study, the researchers used an animal model and compared the effectiveness of the treatment against terbinafine – one of the common, commercially available topical treatments for fungal infections of the skin. The team found the nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles resulted in a faster response to treatment, with 95% infection clearance within 3 days of administering the nanoparticles.

The researchers are now working on scaling up their technology and are planning clinical trials for treating dermatophytosis, although Friedman said the platform could be used to deliver other therapeutic agents.