Anti-biofilm therapies using local application of bacteriophages



Research Project: 2019-01-01 - 2021-12-31
Total sum awarded: €937 336

The use of medical devices has had an enormously positive impact on patient care. However, approximately 5% of patients across all medical specialities can develop an infection associated with the device, which can have disastrous consequences. These bacterial infections involve biofilm formation and are therefore always highly antibiotic tolerant, even in the absence of specific antibiotic resistance genes. The antibiotic recalcitrance of the biofilm leads to poor treatment success rates and often requires implant removal to treat the infection. The ANTIBIO-LAB consortium's overall aim is to introduce a new concept in the treatment of antibiotic resistant biofilm infections by delivering biofilmadapted bacteriophages in a customised local delivery vehicle. The methods that we will employ draw from our collective experience in phage isolation, phage in vitro evolution, local delivery vehicle design, and clinically relevant in vitro and in vivo models of biofilm infection.

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  • Fintan Moriarty, AO Research Institute Davos, Switzerland (Coordinator)
  • Andrej Trampuz, Charité University Medicine, Germany (Partner)
  • Willem-Jan Metsemakers, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium (Partner)
  • David Eglin, AO Research Institute Davos, Switzerland (Partner)
  • Rob Lavigne, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (Observer)
  • Mariagrazia Di Luca, University of Pisa, Italy (Observer)

Title of the research project: Bacteriophages for local antibiofilm therapy Lead: The use of medical implants has brought about an enormous progress in the care of patients. However, the development of bacterial biofilms adhered on the implant surface and the resulting resistance to antibiotics can lead to repeated infections. These infections lead to poor treatment success in all medical fields and very often, the implant has to be replaced. This project introduces a new concept for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant biofilm infections. Content and goals of the research project: Bacteriophages are viruses that infect specifically bacterial cells and kill them within minutes to hours. Since bacteriophages require living bacteria to multiply, they cannot reproduce once the infection is eliminated. Therefore, bacteriophages are suitable for the natural and specific therapy of multi-antibiotic-resistant biofilm infections. The main goal of the project is to develop a suitable material for local administration of bacteriophages, which can be used for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant biofilm infections. Different methods and experiments for bacteriophage isolation and adaptation, as well as development of local administration materials and clinically relevant infection models are applied in this project. Scientific and social context of the research project: The complementarity of the project partners offers a broad knowledge of essential clinical, microbiological and process technology. The project partners have already shown that bacteriophage therapy is an effective anti-infective therapy in the laboratory as well as in patients. Through the collaboration of all project partners, the effectiveness of bacteriophage therapy will be further enhanced by using the latest technologies in local administration materials. An effective therapy would have an enormous impact on the patient.