If you are a nonbiologist like me, you might find the news I'm bringing you today quite surprising. Professor Karine Glinel of UC Louvain has presented, at the SM02.03: Anti-Biofilm Materials I session, an interesting approach to treating skin disorders caused by Pathogens. This approach utilizes bacteria existing in the human skin to stimulate the body response against the formation of pathogens. Beneficial bacteria such as Staphylococcus epidermidis can function as "guardian angels" against pathogens, as explained by Prof. Glinel. However, these bacteria have the ability to form biofilms on medical implants and can become virulent. This is why this bacteria itself is often considered a pathogen. The goal of Prof. Glinel's team is to develop a strategy to entrap Staphylococcus epidermidis in a way that allows it to produce agents beneficial for skin health while preventing their uncontrolled growth. To achieve this goal, they tested three methods to functionalize polymer materials.
The first method is based on the formation of a polyelectrolyte shell to encapsulate the bacteria. Although the technique was successful in suppressing the growth of the bacteria, for a period of time, no metabolical activity was observed. The second method is to entrap the bacteria in a network of nanotubes based on polyelectrolyte. In this method, a mat of the nanotubes was fabricated into which the bacteria was trapped. Although the metabolical activity of the bacteria was observed as the mat successfully entrapped it, its suppression of bacteria proliferation only lasted for about 6 h. The final strategy presented by Prof. Glinel was the bacterial encapsulation in a membrane-in-gel patch, which is based on the bacteria entrapment in the pore of a membrane. The tests on this method showed that the bacteria were metabolically active and remained entrapped for 30 h.
I really enjoyed the fact that, despite my very little knowledge in this field, I was able to follow the main idea and appreciate the findings of Professor Glinel. For more details, you can find this talk here. Also, don't forget to check the Science as Art competition for all the fun and imaginative art that is being made in laboratories.
That was my Monday's view of the virtual MRS spring meeting and exhibit and if you enjoyed it, stay tuned!