Biologics

Researchers have Developed a Protein-Loaded Antimicrobial Hydrogel to Treat and Prevent Bone Infections

Bone infections are notoriously tricky to treat, and antibiotics are frequently prescribed. 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.

The injectable hydrogel is a network of cross-linked polymer chains, and contains the enzyme lysostaphin and the bone-regenerating protein BMP-2. In a new study using a small animal model, the research team showed significant reduction in an infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus, along with regeneration within large bone defects.

“Treatment for bone infections now often requires two surgeries to both eliminate the infection and heal the injured bone,” said Andrés J. García, executive director of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering & Bioscience at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “Our idea was to develop a bifunctional material that does both things in a single step. That would be better for the patient, cost less and reduce hospitalization time. We have shown that we can engineer the hydrogel to control the delivery and release of both the antimicrobial enzyme and the regenerative protein.”

This hydrogel-based therapy could be used to treat established bone infections, and as a prophylactic during surgery to prevent infection.

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Chris J. Stewart

Chris currently serves as Chief Operating Officer at Ortho Spine Partners. Prior to that, he was the assistant vice president and business unit leader of Medical Device Management for HealthTrust.

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