- Conference date: 17–18 April 2008
- Location: Indianapolis (Indiana)
Despite millions of dollars and several decades of research targeted at their prevention and eradication, biofilm‐associated infections remain the major cause of urological device failure. Numerous strategies have been aimed at improving device design, biomaterial composition, surface properties and drug delivery, but have been largely circumvented by microbes and their plethora of attachment, host evasion, antimicrobial resistance, and dissemination strategies. This is not entirely surprising since natural biofilm formation has been going on for millions of years and remains a major part of microorganism survival and evolution. Thus, the fact that biofilms develop on and in the biomaterials and tissues of humans is really an extension of this natural tendency and greatly explains why they are so difficult for us to combat. Firstly, biofilm structure and composition inherently provide a protective environment for microorganisms, shielding them from the shear stress of urine flow, immune cell attack and some antimicrobials. Secondly, many biofilm organisms enter a metabolically dormant state that renders them tolerant to those antibiotics and host factors able to penetrate the biofilm matrix. Lastly, the majority of organisms that cause biofilm‐associated urinary tract infections originate from our own oral cavity, skin, gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts and therefore have already adapted to many of our host defenses. Ultimately, while biofilms continue to hold an advantage with respect to recurrent infections and biomaterial usage within the urinary tract, significant progress has been made in understanding these dynamic microbial communities and novel approaches offer promise for their prevention and eradication. These include novel device designs, antimicrobials, anti‐adhesive coatings, biodegradable polymers and biofilm‐disrupting compounds and therapies.
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