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article imageBone implants used to protect body from germs

By Tim Sandle     Jun 12, 2014 in Science
A research team has developed bone implants that control microorganisms and which could prevent infection after an operation.
After any operation there is a risk of infection and the most serious cases are when the infective microorganisms are resistant to antibiotics. Of the different types of medical procedures, infections of the bones can be especially problematic because they are difficult to treat and because microorganisms can enter the blood stream.
To guard against these risks, researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart and French CIRIMAT Carnot Institute in Toulouse have developed a bone substitute with integrated protection against infection.
The implants visually appear as fine-grained flour. The individual grains consisted of apatite crystals. These crystals are similar in composition and structure to natural bone material. For the anti-bacterial action, the researchers used natural materials. In the end they developed a compound that they termed "Biocapabili" (Biomimetic Calcium Phosphate Anti-bacterial Bone Implants for Local-infection Inhibition). The compound selected was a peptide, which was placed inside the apatite crystals.
In studies carried out on the material using bacterial cultures, results showed that in the immediate vicinity of the apatite, a range of different bacteria were reduced by more than 90 percent. The bacterial challenges included common hospital associated pathogens.
Having demonstrated the anti-bacterial effectiveness, further studies are now required to ensure that the material does not harm patients.
More about Bone, Implants, Bacteria, Hospital, Health
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