Importance of the field: Current antibiotics have classically been developed to treat infections involving planktonic bacterial populations in acute infection settings and are typically ineffective in the eradication of bacteria in biofilm-associated, persistent infections. The paucity of effective current treatment options and the growing population of susceptible patients with indwelling medical devices and materials are key factors that substantiate the need for new agents effective in the prevention or eradication of biofilms.
Areas covered in this review: Published patents relating to biofilm-active agents were identified in SciFinder(®) for the period January 2005 through March 2010 and representative patents selected with an emphasis on agents claimed for the prophylaxis or treatment of bacterial biofilm infections.
What the reader will gain: The review provides a basic understanding of the medical challenges posed by biofilm-associated infections, and summarizes claims describing novel therapeutic approaches in the management of biofilm infections.
Take home message: Treatment of biofilm-associated infections with existing approved therapies remains a significant medical challenge. In the near term, new agents demonstrating bactericidal activity against bacteria within biofilms will be most readily incorporated into existing treatment paradigms. Alternative approaches that impact biofilm formation or dispersion are promising, but remain to be validated clinically.