Bacteria in biofilms are embedded in a self-produced extracellular matrix and exhibit an increased resistance to adverse conditions. In the human host, biofilm bacteria are responsible for persistent infections and efficiently withstand antibiotic treatment and the host immune response. Once a bacterial biofilm infection is established it becomes very difficult to eradicate, even in the absence of genotypic resistance. Biofilm infections affect millions of people and every year chronic infections in patients due to biofilm formation are a multi-billion Euro burden to national healthcare systems. With progress of medical sciences, more and more indwelling devices for the purpose of medical treatments and foreign body implants are applied. Infection continues to be a major complication of their use. Also, there are biofilm infections not associated with foreign bodies, such as chronic infections of the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients and of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. Ongoing inflammation and changes in the structure and function of the affected tissue largely determine morbidity and mortality in these patients.
We want to identify biomarkers whose presence is correlated with the resistance of the P. aeruginosa biofilm and genetic / metabolic patterns and which characterize the switch to the establishment of pathogenic biofilms on implants. This will serve to develop a diagnostic tool for biofilm resistance and disease excitation Proﬁling and innovative treatment strategies targeting biofilm resistance mechanisms.
Biofilms of clinical idolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, living cells are green, dead cells are red. Source: TWINCORE / Jann Thöming