European training network for development of personalized anti-infective medical devices combining printing technologies and antimicrobial functionality

01 August 2020 → 31 January 2021
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Bacteriology
Pharmacology pharmacogenomics drug discovery and design drug therapy Medical engineering and technology Prevention and treatment of infection by pathogens Microbiology
Project description

According to ECDC, over 4 million healthcare-associated infections in the EU cause 37,000 deaths and cost EUR
7 billion/year. Half of them are related to medical devices (i.e., catheters, implants) and 80% of these are related to
bacterial biofilms. A recent EC report highlighted the medical device sector’s role in driving EU economic growth,
employing 500k people in 25k companies (80% are SMEs) with annual sales of EUR 85 billion. The strategy
to prevent medical device-infections is alteration of the device’s surface with antimicrobials. However, current
antimicrobial surfaces don’t control bacterial growth in tissue surrounding implants, and only Sterilex® has received
regulatory approval in the US as anti-biofilm agent. Participants in this proposal have earlier demonstrated a dramatic
in vitro inhibition of biofilm formation by 3D-printing surfaces with antibiotics incorporated into the carrier polymers.
This discovery opens new possibilities for printed medical devices that better resist biofilms. Our objective is to setup
a new European education platform to guide and inspire young researchers in the intersectoral exploration of
innovative routes to counteract microbial biofilms by fabricating anti-infective, tailored, 3D-printed medical devices.
Current opportunities for young researchers to receive an structured, inter-sectoral and up-to-date education on
personalized medicine and medical devices are marginal, and to our knowledge PRINT-AID is the first ETN set up
for this purpose. State-of-the-art printing technologies will be combined with in vitro and in vivo biofilm models and
novel tools for data integration/standardization. Doctoral training will be performed within a high-quality network of
12 participants (5 industrial) from the EU and US. It will include online and face-to-face courses taught by researchers
with academic and industrial expertise in biofilms, 3D-printing research, antimicrobials, material science, and drug