PI: Burak Ozdoganlar

Co-PI(s): Phil Campbell

University: Carnegie Mellon University

Burn patients are at a higher risk for infections due to impaired immune response, as most burn wounds become infected within 48 hours of the injury. If left untreated, the infection can lead to sepsis and multiple organ disfunction syndrome (MODS), resulting in death in up to 84% of cases. The complex nature of the burn wounds and eschar hinder the utility of systemic or topical antibiotics as therapeutic agents. Similarly, a range of skin infections, including cellulitis, impetigo, and furuncles (boils) cannot be addressed using topical antibiotics and may require strong systemic antibiotics, bringing dangerous side effects and antibiotic resistance. A localized antibiotic treatment can effectively prevent or treat the infections on burn wounds and other skin ailments. However, the main challenge is that there exist no effective approaches for precise and localized delivery of antibiotics to the skin.

To address this need, the CMU team proposes to develop an approach for directly delivering antibiotics to burn wounds and other skin infection sites using and comparing dissolvable microneedle arrays (dMNAs) to achieve effective prevention and therapy of infections. The dMNAs will provide an effective means to penetrate through the stratum corneum and/or the burn eschar and deliver antibiotics. The team will create and evaluate antibiotic embedded dMNAs that can effectively penetrate through the burn eschar and skin. The research will be conducted in three aims, and Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) will be used as the model. Aim one focuses on fabrication and geometric/mechanical evaluation of antibiotic embedded MNAs. Aim two evaluates the MNA encapsulated Cipro through in vitro and ex vivo studies. Aim three includes in vivo assessment of MNA-mediated Cipro in a rat burn model with and without infective bacteria. At the conclusion of these studies, feasibility, and functionality of MNA delivered Cipro will be demonstrated.