Novel Solutions for Biofilm Infections

In early August the first annual review meeting was conducted for the Novel Solutions for the Biofilm Infections research project. This is a collaborative research project between the University of Sydney, Whiteley Corporation and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (iMCRC), with an investment of over $4m over four years.

“This work will be of major medical significance worldwide” said Dr Greg Whiteley. “Bacterial biofilms cause both human disease and death, and these microbes are also responsible for contamination in industrial and institutional settings,” he said. Since the project commenced in mid-2018 great progress has been made in both research and model development.

A paper on “Conditions under which glutathione disrupts the biofilms and improves antibiotic efficacy of both ESKAPE and non-ESKAPE species” was recently published in the high impact journal Frontiers in Microbiology” said Dr. Jim Manos of the University of Sydney.

“The paper discusses the results from investigating whether the antioxidant glutathione (GSH) can act as a biofilm disruptor and enhance antibiotic effectiveness against various bacterial pathogens” he continued. “We have demonstrated that GSH disrupts the biofilms of six pathogenic species, with a greater than 50% decrease in growth for all tested bacterial species. This is an exciting finding, showing that contrary to our previous understanding, glutathione can disrupt biofilms independently of the metabolite pyocyanin, which is only expressed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Therefore, it can be used to disrupt the biofilms of a wide range of bacterial species.”

A second area where much progress has been made is in the development of a range of models to better represent the various areas in which biofilms effect the human body. The project is on track to deliver its key milestones and inform the manufacturing processes and technologies required to commercialise and received a green light from iMCRC.

David Chuter, CEO and Managing Director of iMCRC, commented on the research progress and positive impact of industry and research organisations working together. “It is particularly rewarding to see a project that is on track to delivernovel solutions which promise an optimistic future for controlling and removing biofilms formation in different industry applications and thus reduce the risk of infections.

“The end goal of this project is to bring products to market which effectively disrupt the formation of biofilm and eradicate underlying bacteria in range of infections” said Dr Whiteley.

Names L-R: Dr Jessica Farrell, John Stewart, David Chuter, Dr Matthew Young, Dr T Das, Dr Jim Manos

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