Posts tagged: Biofilm

From a Chronic Urinary Tract Infection to Disability: The Dangers of Bacterial Biofilms

When most of us think of diabetes, urinary tract infection isn’t something that immediately comes to mind.  Of course, there are the usual complications, such as heart disease, kidney damage, foot ulcers, and blindness—but increased susceptibility to infections is something that many people miss.  For an acquaintance of mine, however, a chronic, treatment resistant, urinary tract infection has come to define her diabetic experience of the last 10 months.

Despite having her blood sugar levels under strict control, my acquaintance went a little overboard last Christmas, enjoying a few too many cookies and chocolates—something all of us have been guilty of at one time or another.  Sugar, unfortunately for diabetics, and my acquaintance, thickens the blood and makes it more difficult to supply organs such as the heart, kidneys, and nerves with oxygen.   As a result of this little misadventure, she developed very specific type of nerve damage, called neurogenic bladder.   Neurogenic bladder, in a nutshell, damages the involuntary nerves that make urination possible and allow the bladder to be emptied.

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Ondine’s Photodisinfection Technology Being Developed To Treat Chronic Sinusitis

Photodisinfection is a highly effective antimicrobial therapy involving non-thermal light and a topically placed photosensitizer. It is currently being used for the treatment of oral infections and nasal decolonization of MRSA and S. aureus. Photodisinfection is also being currently used for the treatment of endotracheal tube biofilms to prevent ventilator associated pneumonia. One of the areas of medical need identified for photodisinfection is for the treatment of chronic sinusitis that has failed surgical and medical therapies. It is estimated that there are more than 500,000 of these people suffering in the US alone, and this number grows by 10% annually.

Polymicrobial biofilms, many of them antibiotic resistant, have been significantly implicated in the etiology of this chronic indolent disease process and its associated inflammatory processes.  Preclinical studies we have conducted demonstrate the effectiveness of photodisinfection to selectively photoeradicate a broad spectrum of biofilm micoorganisms, including antibiotic resistant S. aureus, P. aerugenosa and fungal species, without causing injury to tissue or mucosa.

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Ondine Study Shows Reduction of Endotracheal Tube Biofilm Using Photodisinfection

Ventilator-associated pneumonia is one of the most common and deadliest forms of healthcare-associated infections.  In the U.S alone, more than one million patients in healthcare facilities require mechanical ventilation every year. Up to 1 in 4 of these patients are reported to develop ventilator-associated pneumonia and up to half of them will die.1

Antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (aPDT), commonly known as Photodisinfection, is a non-invasive technique that used to study the reduction of biofilm in the lumen of an endotracheal tube. When patients undergo mechanical ventilation, an endotracheal tube is inserted into their throat to assist with breathing. This tube has long been recognized as a major factor in a patient’s risk for developing biofilm infections. For patients that require mechanical ventilation, such as those in ICUs, the biofilm can dislodge from the endotracheal tube and enter the lungs directly, often resulting in difficult-to-treat pneumonia.

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What Is A Biofilm?

In the past six years I’ve learned a lot about bugs. Microbes comprise 70% of all living organisms in the world. And we have ten times more bacteria than human cells. So why ponder these peculiar facts? In short, how we understand the myriad interactions between humans and microbes decides how we treat – or fail to treat – a range of human diseases.

My first unexpected foray into the pathology of bacterial disease started in 2005, as I became increasingly ill with an odd constellation of symptoms that eluded doctors. Looking back, it seems possible I visited every medical specialty in western medicine! My shortness of breath, fatigue, cardiovascular troubles and neck pains puzzled my PCP, ENTs, orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, a physiatrist and an interventional radiologist. And that’s not the complete list. I knew I wasn’t crazy as my health spiraled downward into an indescribable hell.

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Healthcare-Associated Infections: A $35-$45 billion problem

“Healthcare-associated infections are one of the biggest causes of avoidable harm and unnecessary death in the developed world” – World Health Organization

Healthcare-associated infections kill more than 99,000 people every year

Over the next few blog posts, we’ll be discussing a group of infections known as healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs. In the US alone, more than 99,000 people die each year from these infections1. While this cost on human life is high, the financial toll is equally staggering . The World Health Organization has called the HAIs one of the biggest causes of avoidable harm and unnecessary deaths in the developed world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that HAIs add $35-$45 billion in costs to the US healthcare system each year2. As such, healthcare-associated infections have become a costly public health concern that demands immediate attention.

HAIs occur when a patient acquires an infection during the course of treatment at, or a visit to, a healthcare facility. After a patient acquires a HAI, the ramifications are often excessively expensive and deadly. In fact, HAIs are responsible for more deaths each year than car accidents, breast cancer, anorexia or AIDS. On average, they add 19 days to a patient’s hospital stay, and increase medical expenses by more than $45,0003. Read more »

Gum Disease and The Oral Systemic Link

I see lines written just like this all the time:

Periodontal disease has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, pre-term birth, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and even cancer.

For someone who has been actively involved in the dental industry, a line like that is pretty easy to digest, but I know a good many people who would stop reading after the word periodontal.  It can be a bit jarring to remember that not everyone understands the oral systemic link, so I want to explain it in a way that makes sense. Read more »

The Case for Photodisinfection

Humans are multicellular creatures each comprised of trillions of cells. Oddly enough, bacteria in our bodies outnumber our human cells by 10:1, although their size is, on average, about one tenth of a human cell. When seen in this light, humans really are part human and part bacteria.  We are dependent on the maintenance of a delicate balance between human cells and bacterial cells for good health as we coexist with bacteria in a symbiotic relationship. There are estimated to be between 500-1,000 species of bacteria living in the human gut and skin.  Some of our bacteria are known to perform certain tasks that are critical. Without our bacteria, for instance, we would be unable to digest and process our food intake.  These commensal bacteria are widely known as our “flora”. Too many of any one kind of bacteria, and we are left in poor health. Bacteria, therefore, play a very important role in human health and human disease. Read more »

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