Although antibiotic-resistant bacteria is becoming increasingly prevalent around the world, there is a lack of development of new antibiotic treatments. Moreover, current clinical guidelines for antimicrobial susceptibility testing do not take biofilm-associated infections into account, even though they represent over 60% of all human infections treated by physicians.
- To develop a diagnostic microchip that determines biofilm-associated susceptibility to antimicrobials, while enabling screening to identify the best treatment for each biofilm-associated infected patient.
Problem to Solve
Bacterial communities can grow freely (planktonic) or in biofilms. In contrast to planktonic microbes, the biofilm mode of growth provides a protective niche that can cause chronic infections, either directly in human tissues or by adhering to and expanding on the surface of medical devices.
In clinical practice, the antimicrobial resistance spectrum is only determined for freely growing bacteria, but not for bacteria growing in biofilms. Therefore, there is an urgent need for an individualized diagnostic of biofilm-associated susceptibility to antibiotics, in order to adjust the treatment of these patients to reduce the quantity and the combination of antimicrobials prescribed.
BiofilmChip is a new easy-to-use device that allows in vitro growth of biofilm-forming bacteria, facilitating the efficacy evaluation of different antibiotics. The microchip allows biofilms made up of different species of bacteria to be analysed simultaneously. Remarkably, BiofilmChip also serves as a high-throughput platform to screen for new antibiofilm molecules.
Level of InnovationAlthough a number of products responding to this unmet need are used in basic research, none of them has yet been scaled up to a clinical laboratory. BiofilmChip is the first system that allows bacterial growth to be quantified automatically without the need for sophisticated equipment.