Researchers at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom have discovered novel antibacterial materials for medical device applications. The findings were the result of a four-year project with MIT researchers, who originally developed the method that enables hundreds of novel polymers to be screened simultaneously. All told, thousands of materials were investigated using this high-throughput method, notes a press release posted on the university’s website.
Co-authors of the study, which was published on August 12 in Nature Biotechnology, include MIT Department of Chemical Engineering Scientists Robert Langer, Ying Mei and Daniel G. Anderson. In the study, researchers determined the attachment of selected bacterial species to hundreds of polymeric materials in a high-throughput microarray format. The authors identified a group of structurally-related materials consisting of chemical and organic compounds that contain carbon and hydrogen molecules that reduce the attachment of bacteria.
Coating silicone devices with the materials reduced the bacterial population by as much as 97% compared with a silver hydrogel coating in vitro.
“We could not have found these materials using the current understanding of bacteria-surface interactions,” said Morgan Alexander, professor at the University of Nottingham who led the research, in a written statement. “The technology developed with the help of MIT means that hundreds of materials could be screened simultaneously to reveal new structure-property relationships. In total thousands of materials were investigated using this high throughput materials discovery approach leading to the identification of novel materials resisting bacterial attachment. This could not have been achieved using conventional techniques.”