Molecular microbial ecology as a diagnostic tool to identify mode of action and new targets for oxidized silver wound dressings

Funding Details
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Grant type: Engage Grants Program
  • Year: 2013/14
  • Total Funding: $25,000
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Project Summary

Chronic non-healing wounds considerably impact quality of life in affected patients and are a substantialburden on the Canadian health care system. Microbes colonizing a chronic wound play an important role inimpeding effective healing. Chronic wounds are colonized by polymicrobial communities and no singleorganism can be seen as causal. Only a small fraction of wound bacteria are cultured by diagnostic tests andstudies have shown little agreement between culture and molecular based approaches, therefore an effectivediagnostic for wound microbes is required. It is known that the composition of the microbial communityassociated with a wound changes as it heals although the causal relationship is somewhat unclear. Although notvery effective in treating chronic non-healing wounds, antibiotics are often administered, contributing toconcerns of antibiotic resistance. The wound dressings produced by Exciton Technologies Inc. (ETI)effectively aid in the healing process in chronic wounds through unknown mechanisms. ETI's wound dressingscontain a combination of silver salts with three different valence, +1, +2 and +3 that have antimicrobial activityand are effective in reducing biofilm formation in vitro. However, it is not known how these silver salts impactmicrobial ecology of the wound and the role this plays in wound healing. The objectives of this research are todevelop a new diagnostic tool based on molecular characterization of wound sites so as to predict how to besttreat wounds and to identify new microbes to be targeted by ETI's technology. This project will utilizemolecular microbial ecology for the assessment and evaluation of topical silver interventions, gaining insightinto the management of chronic infection. Substantiating the microbiota-modifying effectiveness of silverwound dressings towards increasing clinician and patient understanding to improving clinical outcomes.