NIH Logo Biofilm-associated infections may be difficult to treat and expensive because they inherently resist antibiotics and immune defenses. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have now shed light on the probable way catheter-related bacterial infection develops and disseminates to transform into a fatal condition. The research findings can supposedly help understand several types of bacterial biofilm infections, including those triggered by methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).

Investigations were conducted on Staphylococcus epidermidis in mice implanted with catheters. Biofilms, probably clusters of microbes are usually identified with healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which involve medical devices like catheters, pacemakers and prosthetics. It is presumed and most often biofilms develop on devices that consist of Staph bacteria. Biofilm-related infections may be responsible for a significant number of deaths. Yet scientists are strengthened with limited understanding of how biofilms develop at a molecular level.

On completion of the research, scientists were supposedly able to discover a specific S. epidermidis protein, termed as phenol-soluble modulin beta (PSM-beta). It seems that biofilms employ this protein for a number of purposes, such as in growth, to detach from an implanted medical device, and disseminate infection. Antibodies against PSM-beta possibly declined bacterial spread in the investigated mice. Therefore, it appears that interfering with biofilm development can help to halt biofilm-associated infection.