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article imageClose to the bone: Avoiding infections with nanotech

By Tim Sandle     Jun 1, 2015 in Science
Sheffield - Researchers have harnessed nanotechnology in order to avoid deep bone infections, where infections stem from bacteria and fungi. These types of infections can occur following dentistry.
The investigation has shown that by applying a micro-size quantity of antibiotic to the surface of various medical devices (which are intended to go into the human body) offers protection from infection. An implant is a medical device manufactured to replace a missing biological structure, support a damaged biological structure, or enhance an existing biological structure. Such devices include dental implants and hip replacements.
Deep bone infection or osteomyelitis refers to microorganisms getting into bone that is exposed or broken. Infection can also arise via the bloodstream. Furthermore, pathogens can become attached to implants during the surgical process. Symptoms include pain, tenderness, lumps, reddening skin and fever.
The placement of the targeted antibiotic has come about through nanotechnology, as noted in the scientific research note. Researchers have been able to add tiny polymer layers to the internal surfaces of implants and to seed these with antibiotics. The layers were composed of Solvent-cast poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide acid) (PLGA) films.
These layers are only between 1 and 100 nanometers (nm). As a comparator, a human hair is 100,000 nm wide. The layers function to make the surface either deadly or inhospitable to microbes.
Initial results have proven promising with animal studies showing a much reduced rate of infection. Furthermore, the on-going protection guards against the risk of secondary infection occurring.
The research was carried out at the University of Sheffield (U.K.) The findings have been published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia. The research paper is titled “Functionalised nanoscale coatings using layer-by-layer assembly for imparting antibacterial properties to polylactide-co-glycolide surfaces.”
More about bone disease, deep bone disease, Bacteria, Medical devices, Implants
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