Developing Novel Strategies to Arrest Biofilms

Susan Lindquist

Biofilm infections account for several billion dollars in health care costs every year. To establish successful infection, bacteria encase themselves into a complex, polymeric biofilm that aids adhesion and renders them impregnable to the host defenses and a broad spectrum of antimicrobial agents. Patients suffering from biofilm associated chronic infections, such as periodontal disease, endocarditis, otitis media (ear infections) and osteomyelitis, experience cycles of acute exacerbation and remission that often results in treatment failure. Medical device-related infections associated with biofilms that are formed in catheter tubing, coronary stents, joint prostheses, intraocular lens and other implanted devices also fit this profile of repeated infections and typically require surgical removal of the device, despite appropriate therapy. This project will attempt to develop novel therapeutic strategies to combat bacterial biofilm infections.