Bacterial Biofilm Infections: Personalizing Patient Treatment

Bacterial Biofilm Infections

Bacterial biofilms, surface adherent communities of bacteria that are encased in a secreted extracellular matrix of polymeric molecules, can cause diverse pathologies ranging from food poisoning and catheter infections to gum disease and the rejection of medical implants. Though the economic impact of biofilms is in the tens of billions of dollars per year, there is currently a paucity of means for preventing their formation or treating them once they are established. Compared to the free-floating “planktonic” lifestyle, within biofilms bacteria adopt differential gene expression profiles, have heightened resistance to antibiotics (up to 1,000-fold), and are less detectable/ accessible to the immune system. The current approach for treating biofilm infections is far from optimal: antibiotics are administered in a trial-and-error manner.

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