Anti-microbial Surfaces for Medical Devices
A Monash cross-Faculty research program is addressing the urgent call for infection-resistant biomedical devices.
In order to colonise a surface, many species of bacteria undergo a profound change in their biology, to form a biofilm: a community of cells that enshroud themselves in a protective matrix of secreted macromolecules. Stents, catheters and other implanted devices are engineered from materials that are attractive surfaces that stimulate biofilm growth.
The Australian Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb has joined the calls from the Chief Medical Officer of England, Dame Sally Davies, in publicising the catastrophic threat to our public health from hospital acquired bacterial infections by so-called ‘super bugs’. Associate Professor John Forsythe and Professor Trevor Lithgow are collaborating on a research program directly addressing this urgent call for infection-resistant biomedical devices. Their recent research on the biology of biofilms suggests that effective prevention of biofilm formation could be achieved by engineering surfaces that present:
- Self-assembling peptides
- Bacteria-killing reactive species incorporated into plasma polymerised thin films, and
- Gelled ionic liquids
In published research they have demonstrated for the first time a means to kill the bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae, as well as other bacterial species.