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‘Scaffold’ Helps Fight Medical Implant Infections

A stabilized collagen scaffold provides infection protection against two major types of bacteria.

Sally Johnson, Contributor
Thursday, August 3, 2017


In a step forward for combating medical implant infections, a new stabilized collagen implant scaffold loaded with antibiotics prevents E. coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria from growing.

Implant infections are a major healthcare problem. They often require lengthy hospitalizations or can result in removal and replacement of the implants, or even sepsis if left untreated, so a team of National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway researchers set out to develop a solution.

While delivering antibiotic drugs locally via an implanted scaffold has shown promise in the past, according to the researchers, the combination of an ideal scaffold—capable of initially withstanding the aggressive infection environment—and drug to fight against infection proved elusive.

To find the best combination of structure plus drug, the team developed a collagen scaffold using a 0.625 percent concentration of hexamethylene diisocyanate to stabilize it. They then tested the scaffold with variable concentrations of the antibiotics Cefaclor and Ranalexin.

Both dugs showed “similar loading efficiency, release profile and cytocompatibility,” said Dimitrios Zeugolis, a lecturer in biomedical engineering at NUI Galway. But “only collagen scaffolds loaded with 100µg/ml of Cefaclor showed adequate antibacterial properties against both E. coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis.”

The team’s work was published in the journal Biomedical Materials June 19.