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According to the WHO, the increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is one of the biggest threats to global health. In 2014, experts advised that drug-resistant infections could cause 10 million deaths per year by 2050. However, in a recent study published in The Lancet, it was stated that in 2019, almost 5 million deaths were related to multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Therefore, it is extremely important to develop new strategies for the treatment of bacterial infections. Probiotics is a promising alternative to antibiotics. Nonetheless, non-encapsulated probiotics are vulnerable when nesting and proliferating in the hostile environment of the infected tissue, thus jeopardizing their viability and consequently their beneficial health effects. 

We have developed probiotic cellulose (PROBCEL), which consists of dense films of bacterial cellulose nanofibers (BC) completely invaded by live and metabolically active probiotics. PROBCEL exhibits excellent anti-bacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the most active pathogens in skin infections and chronic wounds. Likewise, these PROBCELs were also effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and a multidrug-resistant Pseudomona aeruginosa strains, isolated in the Laboratory of Microbiology at the Hospital Virgen de las Nieves (Granada, Spain).

PROBCEL is a class of material designed for TODAY and TOMORROW. Today because it can act as a low-cost antimicrobial for topical bacterial infections. Tomorrow, because it would be efficient in a hypothetical post-antibiotic era, where antibiotics would not be longer effective. 

Furthermore, PROBCEL can be obtained as a gel or as a solid. From the gel, it can be 3D printed to obtain devices with appropriate form for their direct application to the infected tissue: dressing (for chronic wounds), bra pad (for mastitis) and tampon (for bacterial vaginosis).

Meet the team

Actuación del Campus de excelencia cofinanciadas por la Unión Europea a través del Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER) y la Consejería de Economía, Conocimiento, Empresas y Universidad, Junta de Andalucía.

Proyecto Singular ILIBERIS: Actuaciones Singulares de Transferencia de Conocimiento en el CEI BIOTIC.

Marco por el que se impulsa el desarrollo de Proyectos Singulares de actuaciones de transferencia en los Campus de Excelencia Internacional en las áreas de la Estrategia de Investigación e Innovación para la Especialización Inteligente de Andalucía (RIS3) con cargo al Programa Operativo FEDER 2014-2020 de Andalucía.