Spread of pathogens on contaminated surfaces plays a key role in disease transmission. Surface technologies that control pathogen transfer can help control fomite transmission and are of great interest to public health. Here, we report a novel bead transfer method for evaluating fomite transmission in common laboratory settings. We show that this method meets several important criteria for quantitative test methods, including reasonableness, relevancy, resemblance, responsiveness, and repeatability, and therefore may be adaptable for standardization. In addition, this method can be applied to a wide variety of pathogens including bacteria, phage, and human viruses. Using the bead transfer method, we demonstrate that an engineered micropattern limits transfer of Staphylococcus aureus by 97.8% and T4 bacteriophage by 93.0% on silicone surfaces. Furthermore, the micropattern significantly reduces transfer of influenza B virus and human coronavirus on silicone and polypropylene surfaces. Our results highlight the potential of using surface texture as a valuable new strategy in combating infectious diseases.Read More
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of mortality among adults in the US. As a result, nearly 600,000 coronary and peripheral vascular bypass graft surgeries are performed in the US each year. To overcome limitations of current gold-standard auto-grafting and synthetic grafting methods, Sharklet Technologies, Inc. (STI) proposes a tissue engineered vascular graft comprised of a Sharklet micropatterned acellular extracellular matrix to enhance graft incorporation via guided endothelial cell migration onto the graft lumen.
Nearly 12 million wounds are treated in emergency departments throughout the United States every year. The limitations of current treatments for complex, full-thickness wounds are the driving force for the development of new wound treatment devices that result in faster healing of both dermal and epidermal tissue. Here, a bilayered, biodegradable hydrogel dressing that uses microarchitecture to guide two key steps in the proliferative phase of wound healing, re-epithelialization, and revascularization, was evaluated in vitro in a cell migration assay and in vivo in a bipedicle ischemic rat wound model.
When patients are mechanically ventilated, endotracheal tubes have the potential to disrupt normal airway secretion production and clearance. This ultimately results in secretion accumulation within standard endotracheal tubes and leads to numerous complications for the patient. Sharklet has developed two different test models (in vitro and in vivo) to evaluate the ability of Sharklet-micropatterned endotracheal tubes to reduce the accumulation of these secretions and improve patient care.
During development of the ClearSight™ IOL, Sharklet researched the effect that micropatterned surfaces have on epithelial cells. After surgery to remove cataracts, an intraocular lens is inserted into the eye. Epithelial cells migrate onto the new lens, resulting in posterior capsule opacification (PCO). A followup surgery uses a laser to remove these migrated cells. The ClearSight IOL would feature a protective ring of Sharklet to prevent the cellular migration and negate the need for the laser procedure. Read More
Sharklet-patterned adhesive films are designed to be deployed in many environments, including hospitals. This study places Sharklet film in key areas of a simulated hospital room and measured transference between stations.
Environmental contamination contributes to an estimated 20-40% of all hospital acquired infections (HAI). Infection control practices continue to improve, but multipronged approaches are necessary to fully combat the diversity of nosocomial pathogens and emerging multidrug resistant organisms. The Sharklet™ micropattern, inspired from the microtopography of shark skin, was recently shown to significantly reduce surface contamination but has not been evaluated in a clinical setting. The focus of this study was the transfer of bacteria onto micropatterned surfaces compared to unpatterned surfaces in a clinical simulation environment involving healthcare practitioners.
Platelet adhesion and activation are key events in thrombus or clot formation on blood-contacting biomaterials. Thus understanding the complex interactions between biomaterial surface properties and platelets is important for developing vascular access devices that limit thromboembolic events. Medical-grade poly(urethanes) are frequently used in blood-contacting medical devices due to their desirable mechanical properties and high level of hemocompatibility. Moreover, it has been shown that sub-platelet-sized micropatterns reduce platelet adhesion. Based on this evidence, we hypothesized that bio-inspired, antifouling Sharklet™ (SK) microtopographies replicated in biomedical thermoplastic poly(urethane) (TPU) reduce both platelet adhesion and activation compared to smooth (SM) controls.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a leading hospital acquired infection in intensive care units despite improved patient care practices and advancements in endotracheal tube (ETT) designs. The ETT provides a conduit for bacterial access to the lower respiratory tract and a substratum for biofilm formation, both of which lead to VAP. A novel microscopic ordered surface topography, the Sharklet micro-pattern, has been shown to decrease surface attachment of numerous microorganisms, and may provide an alternative strategy for VAP prevention if included on the surface of an ETT. To evaluate the feasibility of this micro-pattern for this application, the microbial range of performance was investigated in addition to biofilm studies with and without a mucin-rich medium to simulate the tracheal environment in vitro.