Biofilm formation represents a protected mode of growth that renders bacterial cells less susceptible to antimicrobials and to killing by host immune effector mechanisms and so enables the pathogens to survive in hostile environments and also to disperse and colonize new niches. Biofilm disease includes device-related infections, chronic infections in the absence of a foreign body, and even malfunction of medical devices. Areas covered: This review puts forward a new medical entity that represents a major public health issue, which we have named 'biofilm-related disease'. We highlight the characteristics of biofilm disease including its pathogenesis, microbiological features, clinical presentation, and treatment challenges. Expert commentary: The diversity of biofilm-associated infections is increasing over time and its impact may be underestimated. This peculiar form of development endows associated bacteria with a high tolerance to conventional antimicrobial agents. A small percentage of persister cells developing within the biofilm is known to be highly tolerant to antibiotics and has typically been involved in causing relapse of infections. Knowledge of the pivotal role played by biofilm-growing microorganisms in related infections will provide new treatment dynamics for this biofilm-related disease.
Keywords: Biofilm; candida; catheter; device; persisters; polymicrobial; prosthetic; quorum-sensing; staphylococci.