New Research Shows Potential to Prevent Medical Device-Related Infections

A research team from Trinity College Dublin has recently discovered a way to reduce the incidence of medical device-associated infection resulting from biofilms.  The term “biofilms” refers to organized colonies of bacteria that can adhere to any natural or manmade surface.  MedicalNewsToday explains that the accumulation of bacteria into biofilms on medical devices is a common problem that arises after medical devices are implanted in the human body.  Infections caused by biofilms are particularly difficult to treat because they are strongly resistant to antibiotics and immune attack, which means that the development of biofilms often requires healthcare professionals to remove and replace the implanted device.  According to a press release from Trinity College Dublin, each incident of biofilm infection costs the healthcare system €50,000 – €90,000.

The research team from Trinity College Dublin, in collaboration with atomic force microscopy expert Professor Yves Dufrêne and his team at the Université Catholique de Louvain, discovered a way to disrupt the activity of a protein that plays a key role in biofilm formation using a small blocking molecule.  The researchers identified a protein, called SdrC, which contributes to biofilm formation by promoting adhesion between bacterial cells and attachment of the cells to surfaces.  Using a small molecule derived from β-neurexin, the researchers found that they could block the SdrC interactions between cells, thereby preventing biofilm formation.

Dr. Joan Geoghegan, who led the research term at Trinity College Dublin, stated in the press release:

These new findings show that it is possible to stop bacteria from building communities using molecules that specifically target proteins attached to the surface of the bacteria. This exciting breakthrough will inform the design of new, targeted approaches to prevent biofilm formation by staphylococci and reduce the incidence of medical device-related infection.

The research has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

Catherine Gourash
Catherine Gourash is an associate in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Ms. Gourash’s practice focuses on patent law, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical litigation under the Hatch-Waxman Act. Ms. Gourash joined the firm in 2014.
Click here to read full bio
View all posts published by Catherine Gourash »

Leave a Reply

By using this blog, you agree and understand that no information is being provided in the context of any attorney-client relationship. You further agree and understand that nothing herein is intended to be legal advice. This blog is solely informational in nature, and is not intended as, and should not be used as, a substitute for competent legal advice from a retained and licensed attorney in your state. Knobbe Martens LLP makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or availability of the information in this blog. Knobbe Martens LLP will not be liable for any injury or damages relating to your use of, or access to, any such information. Knobbe Martens LLP undertakes no obligation to correct or update information on this blog, which may be incorrect or become incorrect or out of date over time. Knobbe Martens LLP reserves the right to alter or delete content or information on the blog at any time. This blog contains links and references to other websites and publications that you may find of interest. Knobbe Martens LLP does not control, promote, endorse or otherwise have any affiliation with any other websites or publications unless those websites or publications expressly state such an affiliation. Knobbe Martens LLP further has no responsibility for, and makes no representations regarding, the content, accuracy or any other aspect of the information in such websites or publications.