Turning a health risk into an opportunity – a revolutionary approach to infections

The EU-funded Bioaction project is rethinking healthcare by reforming bacteria as allies, aiming to improve implant integration and tackle the implant-associated infections in an innovative way.

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Scanning of a piece of hydrogel using an electron microscope.

This press release was originally published on EurekAlert!

The battle against infections and microbial resistance presents an ever-pressing challenge in the field of healthcare. Implant-associated infections, for example, increase the risk of device rejection, compromising patient health and contributing to the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. Standard treatments, including prolonged antibiotic regimens, often prove futile against these resilient bacterial communities, exacerbating the issue.

In this scenario, Bioaction takes a bold and innovative stance, departing from traditional approaches: rather than combating pathogenic bacteria head-on, Bioaction leverages them as valuable allies in promoting tissue regeneration for better implant integration. This novel perspective offers a paradigm shift in addressing infections.

Funding and long-term vision

The Bioaction project, backed by a generous EUR 3.4 million in funding, has garnered vital support from the European Innovation Council’s Pathfinder Open program, known for its commitment to fostering groundbreaking innovations that push the boundaries of scientific exploration and technological advancement.

Over the next four years, the project will develop functional bio-hydrogels capable of triggering local remodelling of physiological processes to accelerate healing and stimulate bone growth. They will be designed as injectable materials or implant coatings for minimally invasive delivery.

Revolutionizing how we tackle infections

Within the project, researchers will actively validate the technology using clinically relevant models for dental implants and permanent transcutaneous prostheses. However, the transformative impact of Bioaction extends far beyond these specific cases. By reducing reliance on extended antibiotic therapies and mitigating failure rates, this pioneering project holds the power to revolutionise infection treatment methods. In the long run, Bioaction strives to enhance patients’ quality of life while making significant contributions to the worldwide battle against antimicrobial resistance.

The Bioaction project proposes a visionary approach that will be pursued thanks to real interdisciplinarity. Our partners’ diverse expertise and skills in synthetic biology, biomaterials, microbiology, and beyond will surely be the basis for the project’s success.

Luigi Ambrosio, project coordinator at the Institute of Polymers, Composites, and Biomaterials – National Research Council (CNR)

An international and interdisciplinary team

The project brings together four research centres, the Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials and Institute for Biological Systems from CNR, the Bioengineering Institute of Catalonia and the AO Research Institute Davos, as well as two universities, the University of Liège and the University of Eastern Piedmont, and two companies, Ferentis and IN society, from a total of five European countries. All the partners participated in the Bioaction’s kick-off meeting hosted by the coordinator in Naples on 26 April 2023.

Group picture of Bioaction’s team at the project’s kick-off meeting in Naples.
Group picture of Bioaction’s team at the project’s kick-off meeting in Naples.

Through this collaborative effort, Bioaction stands at the forefront of innovation, poised to reshape the landscape of infection treatment and tissue regeneration to improve the quality of life for patients worldwide.

In the media

The following articles, from English and Italian sources, are for reference and do not represent an endorsement of any specific news source.

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Image credits: Hydrogel World by Elena Tsolaki, Empa for SNSF Scientific Image Competition, is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.