Synthesis and Use of Drug Delivery Nanoparticles for Wound Healing


Collaboration and Funding Interest


Yan Vivian Li
Yu Sun

At A Glance

​Researchers at Colorado State University have fabricated antibiotic-encapsulated PLGA nanoparticles that shows uniform porous nanostructures, time-dependent drug release and particle degradation profiles, and good antimicrobial performance. Gentamicin sulfate was chosen as the antibiotic encapsulated in the PLGA nanoparticles due to the drugs broad-spectrum properties against both gram positive and gram-negative bacteria.  The results show incorporation of PLGA nanoparticles as a platform where antibiotics can be encapsulated for developing efficient drug delivery systems.

Reference No.:  2020-079


​Wound   treatment   against   bacterial   infection   has   always   been   a   concern   for   medical professionals. The use of antibiotics has been proven to be the most effective and fastest approach for controlling bacterial infections. Therefore, finding an efficient and timely way to deliver antibiotics to wounds is critical for successful wound care and management.  There are usually three approaches to the delivery of antibiotics:  orally, intravenously, or topically.  Because topical antibiotics only act directly at wound sites, some typical unwanted side effects, such as nausea or diarrhea, can be avoided.  In addition, it is evident that the use of topical antibiotics can reduce the possibility of bacterial resistance.  However, topical antibiotics are still not used as commonly as other antibiotics due to ineffective and inefficient application to wounds.  Wound dressings are inherently topical in wound treatment. They are usually made of non-woven, synthetic or natural materials such as cotton or polyurethane.  Conventional wound dressings can only control bacterial infections to a limited extent.  Recently, there has been an increasing demand for smart wound dressings with high performances, such as real-time bacterial diagnosis and “on-demand” therapeutics. 

One potential approach is to integrate topical antibiotics into wound dressings for efficient drug delivery.  Instead of directly being integrated to the dressing materials, topical antibiotics can be first encapsulated in a nanoparticle, preserving the bioactivity of the antibiotics for a given period of time, resulting in scalable production.  Due to the small size of nanoparticles, they have shown many applications in introducing additional functionalities to textiles when they are integrated to fiber materials.  Nanoparticles can deliver drugs through blood capillaries and allow access into cells, resulting in a more effective delivery than most topical drugs. In addition, the drug release rate in nanoparticles can be efficiently tuned by controlling particle size distribution and morphology that are primarily determined by the materials and synthesis of nanoparticles.

Different materials have been reported in the synthesis of nanoparticles used in medicines, including chitosan, gelatin, polycaprolactone, and poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA).  PLGA has been attractively used in the pharmaceutical industry due to biodegradability, biocompatibility and nontoxicity.  When PLGA is introduced to the circulatory system of human body, it is degraded into carbon dioxide and water, suggesting no harm to the body.  PLGA nanoparticles have been used to deliver drugs in cells and tissue engineering. PLGA nanoparticles can be loaded with protein, peptides, and low molecular weight compounds for many therapeutic applications. The efficiency of drug release to targeted positions can be dramatically increased by using therapeutic PLGA nanoparticles.  In addition, PLGA nanoparticles can serve as a sustainable system to deliver genes or antibiotics with a stable release rate.  And although PLGA has been widely studied in drug delivery systems, there has been limited research for developing PLGA nanoparticles with porous nanostructures designated for topical antibiotic delivery, potentially toward to the development of smart wound dressing.

  • Platform technology, wherein PLGA nanoparticles can efficiently deliver drugs
  • These nanoparticles can be incorporated into wound dressings for efficient and directed antibiotic delivery
  • Effective antibiotic delivery can decrease development of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria

Last updated: January 2021

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