ANTIBIO-LAB: Preventing implant-related infections

With this project, we are developing carrier materials specifically designed for the application of bacteriophages – viruses that live off bacteria – directly to the site of infection. This approach will specifically target the treatment of infections around medical implants.

  • Project description (ongoing research project)

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    Bacteriophages are types of viruses that use bacteria as their hosts. When they multiply within, and eventually leave the bacteria, the bacteria die. We are looking for carriers to deliver bacteriophages to the site of an implant-related infection, where antibiotic tolerant biofilms are known to form. The biofilm is responsible for many of the challenges in treating these infections, and accounts for a high rate of treatment failure. The project partners in Switzerland, Germany and Belgium have already demonstrated in the laboratory and in patients that bacteriophages can be effective in treating biofilm infections. We are now pooling our complementary skills, firstly, in order to obtain and optimise the bacteriophages used, and, secondly, to develop the customised carrier for administering them to patients.

  • Background

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    The use of medical implants has brought about great progress in patient care. However, up to five per cent of patients may suffer infections related to the implant, which in many cases requires removal of the implant. These infections are usually associated with biofilms and are very often tolerant to antibiotics. This greatly worsens the patient’s chances of recovery.

  • Aim

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    We want to obtain bacteriophages that target these biofilms and combine them with carriers suitable for application directly to the site of infection.

  • Relevance

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    Our new treatment concept may improve treatment of antibiotic-resistant, biofilm infections related to medical implants.

  • Original title

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    Antibiofilm therapy using Local Application of Bacteriophages