Improving Wound Healing by Breaking Down Biofilm Formation and Reducing Nosocomial Infections

(1) American Heritage School, Plantation, Florida

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A retrospective study that was published concluded that hospital admissions for adult patients in the United States suffering from skin infections is increasing by significant amounts. In a 10-year period in the early 2000’s, infections due to S. aureus increased by 123%, and this number is increasing as time goes on [1]. The purpose of this experiment was to use hyaluronic acid, silver nanoparticles, and a bacteriophage cocktail to create a hydrogel. Unlike traditional hydrogels, which only aid in the protection and healing of wounds, this hydrogel promoted wound healing by increasing cell proliferation while simultaneously disrupting biofilm formation and breaking down Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which are two strains of bacteria that attribute to nosocomial infections and are increasing in antibiotic resistance. The biofilm formation forms a barrier that gives the bacteria the power to resist antibiotics and give a pathway to create a source of systemic chronic infections [2]. If hyaluronic acid is used in conjunction with colloidal silver and species-specific bacteriophages, we predicted that cell proliferation in an in vitro wound healing model would increase. We tested our bacteriophage-containing hydrogel on human fibroblast cells and on S. aureus and P. aeruoginosa cultures to investigate its potential wound healing and antibacterial properties. In support of our hypothesis, we found that cell proliferation increased. Simultaneously, the bacteriophage cocktail and colloidal silver decreased biofilm growth in both S. aureus and P. aeruginosa while not affecting cell viability. This finding is important because it offers a cost-effective, non-invasive approach to improving wound healing without the use of antibiotics, which is important in a world where antibiotic resistance is becoming an increasingly prevalent problem.

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