In this invited talk, I will discuss recent advanced coming from my laboratory on the development of antibacterial technologies and coatings.
Infections are a substantial problem in healthcare. Of particular significance are infections associated with medical devices since they are notoriously difficult and costly to treat. Many of these infections begin with the attachment of an individual planktonic bacterial cell to the surface of the device. This cell(s) then divides and expresses extra cellular polymers which ultimately results in the formation of a biofilm. Once biofilm is formed, it becomes very difficult to eradicate the bacteria. The biofilm also protects the bacteria from antibiotics and the host immune system, and contributes to development of antibiotic resistance.
Thus, the goal of our work is to prevent the initial attachment of planktonic bacteria to the surface of the device. We have generated four distinct classes of antibacterial surfaces that are capable of protecting a surface from bacterial colonisation and are suitable for application on various medical devices. The surfaces are classified based on their mechanism of action as a) non-sticky, b) contact killing, c) antimicrobial compound releasing and d) stimuli responsive. As means to create antibacterial surfaces we used silver nanoparticles, conventional antibiotics, quaternary ammonium compounds, nitric oxide release, antibacterial polymers and peptides. Many of our approaches are facilitated by a technique called plasma polymerisation which allows us to place a coating on any type of medical devices regardless their shape and size or the material it is made of. Some of these coatings have intrinsic antifouling properties which allow us to prevent biofilm formation without using any toxic compounds. Other coatings can be used to attach or load antibacterial agents. In my talk I will describe how we create all these antibacterial surfaces and what are their benefits and drawbacks. An approach that we are currently applying for commercial implantable devices will also be discussed.