The growth of bacteria as structured aggregates termed biofilms leads to their protection from harsh environmental conditions such as physical and chemical stresses, shearing forces, and limited nutrient availability. Because of this highly adapted ability to survive adverse environmental conditions, bacterial biofilms are recalcitrant to antibiotic therapies and immune clearance. This is particularly problematic in hospital settings where biofilms are a frequent cause of chronic and device-related infections and constitute a significant burden on the health-care system. The major therapeutic strategy against infections is the use of antibiotics, which, due to adaptive resistance, are often insufficient to clear biofilm infections. Thus, novel biofilm-specific therapies are required. Specific features of biofilm development, such as surface adherence, extracellular matrix formation, quorum sensing, and highly regulated biofilm maturation and dispersal are currently being studied as targets to be exploited in the development of novel biofilm-specific treatments. Using Pseudomonas aeruginosa for illustrative purposes, this review highlights the antibiotic resistance mechanisms of biofilms, and discusses current research into novel biofilm-specific therapies.
Keywords: Anti-biofilm therapeutics; Antibiotic resistance; Biofilm infections; Cationic peptides; Hospital acquired infections.
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