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Researchers Develop Antimicrobial Peptides to Inhibit Implant Biofilms

A research team at the University of Southern California’s Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry in Los Angeles is working to develop antimicrobial peptides with the capacity to inhibit bacterial biofilm on dental implants.

A research team at the University of Southern California’s Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry in Los Angeles is working to develop antimicrobial peptides with the capacity to inhibit bacterial biofilm on dental implants. The investigators’ findings are presented in the paper, “Mitigation of Peri-implantitis by Rational Design of Bifunctional Peptides With Antimicrobial Properties,” published in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

Because the surface of titanium implants is susceptible to colonization by pathogenic biofilm, patients with dental implants are subject to developing peri-implant diseases. Working toward a preventive measure, the team used a machine-learning method to predict the structure of antimicrobial peptides that target keystone oral pathogens. The research led to a peptide with titanium-binding properties that allow the antimicrobial agent to adhere to the implant’s surface.

This new method demonstrates how an antimicrobial peptide can bind to an implant and directly counter localized pathogens at the site, rather than working as a wide-acting antimicrobial. These developments could lead to personalized therapy, as clinicians identify a patient’s specific oral pathogens and direct treatment to attack those bacteria.

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