Toward medical implants with an antibiotic coating

Armen Hareyan's picture
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The search for ways to protect polymer-based medical implants - used in devices ranging from contact lenses to artificial hearts, as well as surgical devices and operating room equipment - from bacterial infections has led scientists in Mississippi to develop a penicillin-coated version of a key polymer biomaterial.

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In a report scheduled for the Feb. 12 edition of ACS' Biomacromolecules, a monthly journal, Marek W. Urban and colleagues describe a new way to modify expanded poly(tetrafluorethylene), or ePTFE, so that penicillin adheres to its surface and remains highly effective. This polymer is used in medical procedures ranging from vascular grafting to plastic and reconstructive surgery. In laboratory experiments, the researchers also demonstrated that the penicillin-coated surfaces showed highly effective antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, which causes many serious human infections.

The researchers believe this is the first study to report such activity. "This approach may serve as a general surface modification process for the development of polymeric surfaces with anti-microbial properties," their report states.

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