Bone infections are quite common following orthopedic surgery or as a result of injury or disease. They can be incredibly difficult to treat, and heavy duty antibiotic regimens coupled with debridement surgery is the current approach. Even after all that, inflammation is a frequent side effect. Now, researchers at Georgia Tech have created a hydrogel material that can be used to treat bone infections and even prevent them from happening following surgery.
Their hydrogel contains lysostaphin, an antimicrobial enzyme that kills bacteria but that doesn’t increase inflammation. Previously, lysostaphin was not very useful for bone infections because it doesn’t remain stable on its own in the body. The polymer hydrogel keeps it safe and active, and allows it to continue working for at least two weeks, if not more. Additionally, a protein involved in bone regeneration, BMP-2, was also added into the recipe, to help promote bone healing.
The material can be injected right at the sight of a bone infection and left there to do its work. The hydrogel slowly breaks down, the therapeutic elements are released and used up, and in the end only healthy tissue should remain in its place. When testing the new material in lab mice, the animals’ bone infections were dealt with quite quickly and easily.
The next step in the research will involve studies with other animals before trying the approach in humans.
Study in journal Science Advances: Lysostaphin and BMP-2 co-delivery reduces S. aureus infection and regenerates critical-sized segmental bone defects
Via: Georgia Tech