Researchers have worked on providing more flexible, functional leg implants for soldiers returning home from battlefield. Scientists have created two nanomodified surfaces to seal leg implants against bacterial infections.
"You need to close (the area) where the bacteria would enter the body, and that's where the skin is," said Thomas Webster, associate professor of engineering and orthopaedics at Brown University.
Webster and a team of researchers at Brown may have come across the right formula to deter bacterial migrants. The group reports two ways in which it modified the surface of titanium leg implants to promote skin cell growth, thereby creating a natural skin layer and sealing the gap where the device has been implanted into the body. The researchers also created a molecular chain to sprinkle skin-growing proteins on the implant to hasten skin growth.
The researchers, including Melanie Zile, a Boston University student who worked in Webster's lab as part of Brown's Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards program, and Sabrina Puckett, who earned her engineering doctorate last May, created two different surfaces at the nanoscale, dimensions less than a billionth of a meter.