Therapeutics & Diagnostics
Hospital surfaces are a reservoir for transmission of antimicrobial resistant infectious agents, typically via contamination of the hands of healthcare workers. Staphylococci, C. difficile and Acinetobacter species have been shown to survive many months on high touch near-patient surfaces in healthcare environments. Smart materials e.g. photocatalytic self-cleaning surfaces could inactivate infectious agents landing on surfaces thereby breaking the link between contaminated surfaces and transmission through contact.
Biofilm forming multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogenic bacteria present on medical devices are a major source of infections. Smart materials incorporating small molecules and enzymes may inhibit or disrupt biofilm formation. Another approach focuses on modifying the biomaterials making them resistant to biofilm formation e.g. superhydrophobic structured surfaces.
Controlled release technology incorporating smart materials may allow maintaining concentrations of antimicrobial compunds above the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) thereby maximising therapetuic efficacy whilst minimising antibiotic reistance. Research is being carried out on extended release forumulations incorporating micro- and nanoparticles synthesised using advanced microfluidic technologies.
Our research into smart materials for AMR will explore clinician/staff, patient or public acceptance, understanding and use of any novel strategies to tackle antimicrobial resistance such as application of these materials in healthcare and community settings.
The strategies will be based on the specific economic conditions, social norms and understanding of underlying user behaviour.