The Role of Biofilms in Infected Wounds

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The Role of Biofilms in Infected Wounds

Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) was the first person to delve into the field of microbiology and document initial observations of bacteria. After this preliminary discovery, microbiology was not actively studied again until the 1800s, when it began to gain a foothold in contemporary medicine. Fast-forward to today’s labs, where clinicians are becoming more knowledgeable in the bacteriology of wound-healing, and researchers are identifying new ways to overcome long-standing challenges in wound healing, such as biofilms.

Biofilm is a term used to describe a colony of microorganisms (i.e., bacteria, fungi, yeast, etc.) that are encased by an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) that forms a shield, often causing the bacteria to be resistant to antibodies. While biofilms have been understood in nature for many decades, researchers are only recently beginning to recognize the role they play in infected wounds and the healing process.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 80% of human bacterial infections involve biofilms. These infections can develop quickly, even in a matter of hours, and are highly complex structures. Biofilms are resistant to the defense mechanisms of the body, and as polymicrobial systems, they are difficult to treat with systemic antibiotics or topical antibiotics.

Biofilms may explain many of the challenges clinicians face with wound care, infection and healing. Due to antibiotic resistance, biofilms may cause chronic infections or prevent wounds from fully healing because an infection is never fully eradicated. Persistent infection can lead to systemic infections, risky prolonged exposure to antibiotics or amputation of the infected site.

Tasked with breaking down biofilms in order to develop effective treatments, scientists are conducting in vivo studies to better understand biofilm properties and identify ways to expose the bacteria. MPI Research has developed various models to study the effectiveness of treatments for infected wounds in small and large animals, including:

  • Infection Prevention Model: Treatment is applied prior to inoculation with bacteria. Wounds are swabbed at regular intervals to determine bacteria levels.
  • Infection Treatment Model: Treatment is delayed for several days to allow establishment of bacterial infection prior to treatment. Wounds are swabbed prior to treatment for baseline levels and then at regular intervals post-treatment to determine bacterial levels.

Additionally, MPI Research scientists are currently developing models to test new treatments specifically for biofilms. The typical bacterial strain for all infected wound or biofilm models is MRSA, as this environmental organism regularly causes infections in wounds and is a major concern in individuals with compromised immune systems, especially in hospitals. To learn more about these models and other capabilities regarding infected wound studies at MPI Research, call (269) 668-3336 and speak to one of our experienced Study Directors.

By | 2017-07-04T10:26:41+00:00 March 31st, 2016|Blog, Homepage Featured|Comments Off on The Role of Biofilms in Infected Wounds

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MPI Research, with global headquarters in Mattawan, Mich., provides safety evaluation, discovery, bioanalytical and analytical services to the biopharmaceutical, medical device, animal health, and chemical industries. The company offers comprehensive imaging solutions including preclinical imaging, radiochemistry, and data analysis. Scientific knowledge and experience, responsiveness, integrity, trust, teamwork, and dedication to strong and enduring Sponsor relationships are the defining attributes that characterize MPI Research as a high-performance, high-quality organization that is committed to bringing safer and more effective products to the world.