Researchers in Ireland have advanced forward in the battle against medical implant infections. They developed a new type of implant scaffold to provide localized drug treatment and prevent infection, which has already proven effective against two types of major problem bacteria. Publishing their results today in the journal Biomedical Materials, the team from the National University of Ireland Galway demonstrate how stabilized collagen scaffolds loaded with a specific antibiotic could prevent both Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis from forming.
Lead author Dr. Dimitrios Zeugolis, from NUI Galway’s Regenerative, Modular & Developmental Engineering Laboratory (REMODEL) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM), said that implant infections remain a major healthcare problem. They can entail long hospitalization periods to distract and treat bacterial biofilm formation. There can also be a need for additional surgeries to remove or replace the infected implant, which if not done in time may lead to sepsis.
The team first developed a collagen scaffold, with a 0.625 per cent concentration of hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) used to stabilize it. They then tested the scaffolds with variable concentrations of the antibiotics Cefaclor and Ranalexin. Dr. Zeugolis said that both drugs displayed similar loading efficiency, release profile and cytocompatibility. However, only collagen scaffolds loaded with 100 μg/ml of Cefaclor showed adequate antibacterial properties against both E-coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis.
The cross-linked collagen scaffold marks a crucial advancement forward against a problem that is both a major health problem and a severe economic burden to healthcare systems internationally.