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Development of antibiofilm coatings for implants

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Anti-bacterial implant coatings

Novel solutions are urgently required to prevent bacterial infections in medical implants. European scientists are working on innovative coatings with anti-bacterial activity.

Health

Certain microorganisms are capable of growing in layers, forming biofilms on certain surfaces. Biofilm-associated infections are responsible for 15-25 % of implant failures as biofilms are resistant to antibiotics. To improve integration of bone implants novel porous materials have been used as scaffolds that ironically serve as an ideal niche for bacterial growth. So far, implant coatings with biocidal properties have been generated, which release silver ions or conventional antibiotics to prohibit biofilm formation. The EU-funded COATIM (Development of antibiofilm coatings for implants) initiative aims to develop the next generation of implant coatings containing novel potent proprietary anti-biofilm molecules (ABMs). Five molecules showing the most promise in inhibiting bacterial and fungal growth on medical implants were selected from previous work by the consortium members. During COATIM, the selected ABMs have been grafted or deposited on small titanium implant substrates and their anti-microbial activity has been evaluated in vitro and in vivo, alongside their osseointegration capacity. Researchers are also evaluating ABM toxicity profile and their remaining activity following sterilisation procedures. Finally, the ABM-coating will be applied on complex orthopaedic and dental implants and tested in a biofilm mouse colonisation model. The need to resolve biofilm-associated infections is urgent to reduce the necessity for revision surgery. Besides higher medical costs, such infections lead to significant pain and distress in patients. Study outcomes are expected to help avoid or reduce this unnecessary suffering.

Keywords

Anti-bacterial, coatings, medical implant, biofilm, anti-biofilm molecules

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