Bridging the Gaps: Systems-level approaches to antimicrobial resistance
Multi Layered and blended deposition of sacrificial thin-film coatings of phosphate based glasses for preventing biofilm formation
David Grant, Bryan Stuart, Reda Felfel, Kathryn Thomas (Advanced Materials, Engineering) and Steve Atkinson (Biomolecular Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences)
Medical implants such as artificial hips and pacemakers bring infection risks to the patient. One of the most commonly found issues is the creation of biofilms, groups of microorganisms in which cells to stick to one another and to surfaces, making them exceptionally hard to remove. To reduce infection rates researchers at The University of Nottingham have been working on applying advanced manufacturing techniques and new materials to create surfaces that prevent biofilm formation.
Researchers are therefore developing surfaces which have disruptive capabilities to prevent biofilm attachment and embedding antimicrobial materials in the surfaces to reduce infection rates. In this project they are exploring using physical vapour deposition to apply bioresorbable coatings of materials that may temporarily inhibit bacterial attachment via a disruptive surface and key elements released, maintaining the bacteria in their planktonic state enabling them to be more readily attacked during and post-surgery, a time when patients are particularly vulnerable to infection.
The project draws on knowledge and techniques from the Faculty of Engineering (manufacturing and materials development and characterisation), the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (assessment of antimicrobial efficacy) and instrumentation from the NMRC Microscopy Centre and the School of Physics.
If successful the coating may reduce infection rates, improve patient health and decrease the use of broad spectrum antibiotics, which are often given to combat post-surgical infection. Bacterial attachment on implant surfaces during implantation prosthetics may also lead to revision surgery. The 2016 UK national joint registry reported 2,889 revision surgeries associated with infection following primary hip surgery, accounting for 14% of all revisions. Characterising new compositions of phosphate based glasses and unconventional new approaches to coatings will improve understanding of glass structures for utilisation in future novel applications.
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