European Commission logo
English English
CORDIS - EU research results

Stimuli Responsive Materials for the Rapid Detection and Treatment of Healthcare Associated Infections

Project description

Advanced theranostic materials to diagnose and treat wound infections

Hard-to-heal wounds are a challenge for both patients and doctors. The goal of treatment is to protect from bacterial infections and accelerate healing. Unfortunately, these infections are not rare. Current coatings rely on the slow and passive diffusion of antimicrobials. This means that they may not be sufficiently concentrated to eradicate the infection. To address this challenge, the EU-funded STIMULUS project will create materials that rapidly signal when an infection is present (diagnostics) and trigger the release of antimicrobials to treat the infection (therapeutics). The project will integrate responsive materials into prototype wound dressings. Moreover, it will train early-stage researchers to lead research on theranostic medical devices.


Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) are bacterial infections obtained as a result of clinical treatment e.g. following medical intervention. HAIs are a problem of tremendous proportion as more than 4 million EC citizens get infected annually. The ECDC estimates 147,000 HAI-related deaths in Europe each year, a large part stemming from wound infections. These alarming facts motivate the urgent need to develop novel medical devices, in particular wound dressings, which rapidly signal and prevent or eradicate invasive bacterial colonization following a stimulus. Current antimicrobial coatings rely on slow, passive diffusion of antimicrobials, hence the antimicrobial may not be sufficiently concentrated to eradicate the infection; such low concentration zones promote evolution of resistance. To tackle these challenges in healthcare in light of an increasingly aging population and unprecedented antibiotic resistance levels, there is an urgent need for dedicated research leaders in industry and academia. These scientists of the future still will need primary training in, e.g. chemistry or microbiology, but they will have to operate at the interface between disciplines. Future materials chemists will need to perform microbiology experiments and to appreciate the engineering required to translate a lab invention to a production prototype. They have to understand the societal, business and regulatory environment around new medical device development. The research focus of STIMULUS is on wound infections. The objectives are: 1) Diagnostic: To create materials that clearly and rapidly signal when infection is present; 2) Therapeutic: triggered release of antimicrobials to treat the infection; 3) Translational and theranostic: integration of responsive materials into prototype wound dressings. Integrated with this research, we will create a lasting and comprehensive training programme for ESRs, making them suitable for leading research on theranostic medical devices.


Net EU contribution
€ 528 414,48
1180 Wien

See on map

Ostösterreich Wien Wien
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 528 414,48

Participants (8)