Many children undergoing treatment for bone cancer have considerable amounts of bone removed, necessitating the use of orthopedic implants. However, patients frequently receive chemotherapy, their immune systems are compromised, and they are susceptible to bacteria colonizing the implant's surface. The downside of the situation is that children are left with two terrible choices between chemotherapy and saving their limbs, or they may require amputations to survive. The problem can easily be improved if something could be rubbed on the implant, preventing the infection from affecting the patient.
A study team has finally developed an antimicrobial coating that will be a ray of hope for many people suffering from this condition. They demonstrated that the coating could be easily applied onto the orthopedic implant right before the surgery. This would ensure that there are no chances of infection around the implant. The research is a significant development for the Orthopedic Implant Market. It showed that the coating successfully eliminated all subsequent infections in initial trials with no need for antibiotics, the current standard of care for patients. Further, it was noted that the covering did not obstruct bone growth into the implant after twenty days.
To come up with the coating, the team mixed antibiotic rifampin with a solution of self-assembling polymers. The mixture was coated on the intramedullary hip implants of humans. As per early trials done on mice for twenty days, the approach showed no signs of hurting the bones. Moreover, the circumstances cause the polymer to disintegrate once within the body, releasing the antibiotics gradually.
The novel antimicrobial coating comprises two polymers. One of which mixes well with water while the other one repels it. Both are merged with any antibiotic of physician's choosing to make a solution. This solution can then be directly applied to the orthopedic implant by spraying, dipping, or painting. When exposure to Ultraviolet light occurs, the two polymers couple together and then self-assemble as a grid-like structure responsible for trapping the antibiotics.
The intriguing aspect of the development is that it can be customized and used with almost all antibiotics. The physician can choose the antibiotic based on where the device will be put in the body and what infections are common in the area where the procedure is being performed. Both of these factors can help determine which pathogens are common and more likely to affect the patient.
Researchers have showcased a point-of-care through the study, an antibiotic-releasing coating that can prevent bacterial challenges within plants. Further, the process can be done quickly or even be self-applied in the operating room without modifying currently available implants.