Ionic 'magic bullet' could aid wound care

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A unique class of materials called ionic liquids could be a “magic bullet” for treating wounds such as pressure ulcers, venous leg ulcers and more, according to researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.  

These wounds are often made difficult to treat by biofilms, which act as a sort of protective barrier over bacteria inside wounds. Ionic liquids are able to both neutralize biofilm-forming pathogens and deliver drugs through the skin, according to David Fox, a researcher at Los Alamos. 

Fox and the other researchers recently published a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science outlining the results of their investigation into various kinds of ionic liquids.

“In several cases, we found the ionic liquid was more efficacious on a biofilm than a standard bleach treatment and exhibited minimal cytotoxicity effects on human cell lines (unlike bleach),” Fox said. 

“This has excellent prospects for aiding antibiotic delivery to the pathogen through biofilm disruption but, most interestingly, the ionic liquids themselves are quite effective for pathogen neutralization.”