Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

12-2021

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.

Department

Bioengineering

Degree Program

JB Speed School of Engineering

Committee Chair

Frieboes, Hermann

Committee Member

Steinbach-Rankins, Jill M.

Committee Member

Altiparmak, Nihat

Author's Keywords

lactobacillus Crispatus; 3D-printing; MATLAB; BV Recurrence

Abstract

The standard treatment for bacterial vaginosis (BV) is currently antibiotics, such as metronidazole, clindamycin, or tinidazole. These antibiotics are highly effective in getting rid of bacteria in the female reproductive tract (FRT); however, there are some bacteria that provide benefits to the FRT which also get expunged. While there are many strains of bacteria that play a beneficial role in the FRT, lactobacilli are among the most important. These bacteria are responsible for maintaining a healthy environment in the FRT via pH regulation by lactic acid metabolism. Antibiotics eliminate all bacteria from an environment, including lactobacilli, and as a result, antibiotics are efficacious in the short run, but due to the lack of lactobacilli, recurrence of BV is possible. While recurrence is not guaranteed to occur as a result of the lack of lactobacilli, it certainly is common enough to warrant studies on recurrence prevention, as up to 50% of women with BV experience recurrence within 1 year of treatment [9]. The proposed solution is a tandem approach to BV treatment, involving an initial antibiotic treatment followed by probiotic lactobacillus crispatus (L.cr.) treatment; however, therein lie additional problems. Probioics are still the topic of investigation for a variety of health issues, and as such have yet to be clinically proven for BV treatment. As such, in order to investigate probiotics in the context of BV more efficiently, a mathematical model was built to simulate L.cr. release and antibiotic release from 3D-printed scaffolds, as well as associated phenomena such as lactic acid production and pH change. The findings from this model conclude that the scaffold degradation rate bears the most impact on the time of release of antibiotic and probiotic from the scaffold, 1-2 days are required in between antibiotic and probiotic release to avoid any interaction between the two agents, and that v the release rate from the scaffold provides significant alterations in release kinetics provided that there is no overlap between antibiotic and probiotic release.

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