Chlamydia is the most common infectious cause of blindness as well as the most common sexually transmitted bacterium. Multiple types of research are ongoing to study effective methods that can prevent and treat Chlamydia. Research at the University of Waterloo may have successfully achieved this feat.
The traditional Chlamydia treatment VS the newer treatment
As of now, antibiotics are the mainstay therapy for chlamydia. However, that may change soon as the researchers have discovered a treatment technique that has 65% efficacy for success to prevent the STD with just a single dose. The treatment employs gene therapy delivered using nanotechnology.
Despite being effective, there has been growing resistance to antibiotics worldwide with traditional antibiotic therapy, which may soon render antibiotic therapy ineffective.
If Chlamydia is not treated for a long time, it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases. PID can result in serious issues such as infertility, chronic pelvic pain, tubal pregnancy, and other reproductive complications. Due to this, researchers are scrambling to quickly discover a treatment method for chlamydia that is not reliant on antibiotics alone.
Recently, the FDA in the US has approved a siRNA-based drug for the first time. This approval has led researcher at the Waterloo University to believe that their treatment may become widely available in the future.
The gene therapy prevents Chlamydia by preventing the entry of the majority of the bacteria into the cells of the genital tract while also killing off any bacteria that finds its way into the cells. In the cells that bacteria are able to penetrate, the nanomedicine therapy activates autophagy, which enables the infected cells to delineate an area around the bacteria and obliterate it.
“By targeting PDGFR-beta were able to stop the creation of the protein that Chlamydia will use to enter genital tract skin cells,” said Ho, lead researcher of the study. “As a result, an incoming infection has fewer targets to latch onto and infection is less likely to occur.”
The siRNA is not effective alone as it cannot penetrate the cells on its own. It requires a specific nanoparticle to enable its entry into the skin cells and prevent the binding of Chlamydia by reducing the PDGFR-beta expression.