Palestinian scientists work in a laboratory in Gaza City, on Dec. 5, 2018. A team of young Palestinian scientists from the Gaza Strip is looking to develop antibiotics and fungus by nanotechnology. The team, which is composed of three young people, recently won the first place in the competition of innovation health sector at the level of universities in the Gaza Strip. (Xinhua/Stringer)
GAZA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- A team of young Palestinian scientists from the Gaza Strip is looking to develop antibiotics and fungus by nanotechnology.
The team, which is composed of three young people, recently won the first place in the competition of innovation health sector at the level of universities in the Gaza Strip.
The idea began two years ago with Salah al-Sadi, 36, who has a master degree in water and environmental sciences.
Al-Sadi told Xinhua that during his studies, he sought to develop a filter that removes salts and pollutants from water. The minerals melt in natural materials to the water.
He explained that the metals he used varied from gold, copper, silver, iron and aluminum, which after the melting, reached the image of nanotechnology.
Nanoscience is the study of the interaction, composition, properties and manufacturing methods of materials at the nanometer scale.
The science encourages integration of many disciplines and has a direct impact on daily work and life because it leads to the discovery of advanced technology.
"I started forming a team specialized in the nanotechnology project, which included two colleagues. The team's first experiments were to use nanoparticles to treat bacteria as an antibiotic," al-Sadi said.
He added that nanoparticles were studied as antibacterial and fungal in laboratories of the Islamic University.
National Research Center in Egypt conducted several tests to confirm their nanomaterials.
According to al-Sadi, these nanoparticles are environmentally friendly and chemical-free, with no adverse effects or side effects.
The team worked to demonstrate the ability of nanoparticles to control the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in the Gaza Strip and to produce sterile medical gauze with green nanoparticles to ensure that no microbial infection occurs in wounds and burns.
"The first nanotechnology was used as an antibiotic as the first field in the laboratories of the Islamic University in Gaza," al-Sadi said.
He added that the importance of their project is to produce a cheap and 100 percent natural medicine with no chemics.
"There are many deaths every year because of antibiotics and the spread of bacterial infections in hospitals around the world," team member Mahmoud al-Hindi, also a researcher at the Faculty of Science and Cancer Research Center, told Xinhua.
Al-Hindi explained that bacterias have become resistant to chemical antibiotics because of the excessive use, adding that "this requires the search for alternative ways to eliminate bacteria, including the use of green nanoparticles."
He added that any research or idea in the field of health must pass in several stages.
The first is to obtain the approval of scientific research ethics from Gaza Ministry of Health.
According to al-Hindi, the second stage is the use of experimental animals.
"Now we are trying to implement the third stage, which is experimentation on volunteers of people after scientific studies were confirmed correct inside the laboratory and within the tissues in experimental animals," he added.
Meanwhile, the team's third member, Reem Jabor, a 22-year-old biomedical biologist, said the team conducted green nanoparticles on breast cancer cells at specific concentrations and gave satisfactory results to inhibit cancer cells after 48 hours.
Despite the hard work, the group suffers from a number of problems and obstacles.
Al-Sadi said that the Gaza Strip lacks institutions or organizations that embrace creativity and scientific research.
"We need a lot of equipment in our project but some of them are expensive and do not exist in the Palestinian territories," he pointed out.
The team participated in several international competitions and won first place, but the travel restrictions imposed in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli blockade prevented them from presenting their researches by themselves.
Director of the National Center for Cancer Research, Ashraf al-Kurd, told Xinhua that the Gaza Strip is subjected to very difficult and complex environmental effects reflected on human health which caused many types of cancer.
Al-Kurd said that the Cancer Research Center is seeking to know the causes of cancer and alternative treatment methods.
"That is why this group has been embraced, which is trying to use green nanotechnology as an alternative therapy," he added.
Treatment of cancer in Gaza depends on radiation and chemical therapy, causing psychological and health setbacks in many cases.
The team suffers from the absence of a research center specialized in nanoscale testing.
It aspires to establish the first center in Palestine to develop medical drugs for many different diseases at the lowest costs and less time without side effects.
The team also wants to apply for a patent to use green nanotechnology in natural antibiotic production.