Researchers at Jefferson Medical College had found a way to check infection of the implants in the body.
Infections associated with inserting a medical device can be devastating, painful, and cause prolonged disability, costing a lot of money.
Now, researchers have found a way to create a permanent chemical bond between antibiotics and titanium, a material used in orthopedic implants. The proof-of-principle study showed that an antibiotic can be connected to the titanium surface in an active form, and can kill bacteria and prevent infection. The work is a critical first step toward developing stable, bacteria-resistant implants to combat infection.
Infections associated with orthopedic implants are one of the major causes of implant failure. If bacteria grow on an implant, it can't knit properly with bone. The researchers report their results in the current issue of the journal Chemistry and Biology.
In the work, the scientists fastened the antibiotic vancomycin to titanium powder. The vancomycin could then immediately kill bacteria sensitive to vancomycin that landed on the titanium.
The researchers checked to see if vancomycin was indeed attached to the titanium surface using microscopy. Next, they added a fragment of bacterial cell wall to see if the vancomycin on the powder, or beads, could bind to its natural target. The tests proved that the vancomycin was bound and active.
Finally, they added bacteria and showed that titanium beads with vancomycin on the surface killed the bacteria. When the beads were exposed to more bacteria, the vancomycin continued to kill the new infection. The vancomycin was not only chemically bound, but aggressively curtailed re-infection as well.