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Method for Destabilising, Altering and Dispersing

Method for Destabilising, Altering and Dispersing Biofilms - L-Arginine

Quote Ref: KT136749

The Challenge

Biofilms form when free-floating micro-organisms attach to a surface and transform into a sessile phenotype that excretes a slimy extracellular matrix which further anchors them to the surface. The protective environment created by the biofilm enables pathogens to reproduce very rapidly making biofilm microorganisms significantly more virulent than free-floating ones. As biofilms mushroom in size, they inevitably release large doses of bacteria, fungi, algae and/or protozoa back in to the environment to colonise or 'infect' new sites.

Biofilms can form on almost any surface in a moist environment, including structures of the human body, such as teeth and medical implants which may have serious consequences. Biofilms on teeth, known as plaque, will lead to tooth decay if not effectively dispersed daily. Biofilms in the human body are up to ten thousand times more resistant to antibiotics than free-floating bacteria, so the formation of a biofilm on an artificial joint, for example, is very difficult to treat. Consequently, novel ways of reducing, removing or sensitising biofilms to antimicrobials are urgently needed.

The Solution

Scientists at Newcastle University have developed a treatment comprising L-arginine which enhances biofilm removal and sensitivity to environmental or co-applied treatments, e.g. antimicrobials. The treatment works to destabilise, alter the 3D structure and disperse a biofilm through multiple mechanisms, including by inducing cell damage, killing cells, disrupting intra-cellular processes leading to loss of homeostasis, disrupting cell-cell adhesion, changing the 3D architecture of the biofilm, disrupting cell-cell signalling and cell-cell metabolic interactions and disrupting adhesion to surfaces. The effect is to reduce the pathogenic potential of the biofilms, reduce biofilm mass, decrease the proportion of pathogenic bacteria in a biofilm, increase the proportion of beneficial bacteria in the biofilm and/or prevent growth of a microorganism in a biofilm.

The Opportunity

The L-arginine treatment and application has the potential to be applied to dental, medical, industrial, domestic and environmental situations where biofilms are an acute or chronic problem.

We are looking for licensees or industrial partners who wish to work with us to develop this technology for application in products.

Intellectual Property

Patent applications are currently under prosecution in USA, Europe, China, Australia and Brazil.

Title: Compositions and method for destabilizing, altering, and dispersing biofilms
US patent application no: US15023111
Filing Date: 24th September 2014
Applicant: University of Michigan and University of Newcastle upon Tyne


Dr Lynda Speed, Enterprise Team, Research & Enterprise Services, Newcastle University, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4HH, UK.