Today online a new advanced access article is online at Biomaterials Science, launched following our recent collaboration with the team at the University of Sheffield. This paper shows the efficacy of our recent highly branched polymer materials to disturb or prevent the formation of bacterial biofilms.
Microbial keratitis can arise from penetrating injuries to the cornea. Corneal trauma promotes bacterial attachment and biofilm growth, which decrease the effectiveness of antimicrobials against microbial keratitis. Improved therapeutic efficacy can be achieved by reducing microbial burden prior to antimicrobial therapy. This paper assesses a highly-branched poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) with vancomycin end groups (HB-PNIPAM-van), for reducing bacterial attachment and biofilm formation. The polymer lacked antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, but significantly inhibited biofilm formation (p = 0.0008) on plastic. Furthermore, pre-incubation of S. aureus cells with HB-PNIPAM-van reduced cell attachment by 50% and application of HB-PNIPAM-van to infected ex vivo rabbit corneas caused a 1-log reduction in bacterial recovery, compared to controls (p = 0.002). In conclusion, HB-PNIPAM-van may be a useful adjunct to antimicrobial therapy in the treatment of corneal infections.