Antibacterial biomaterials for future orthopaedic implants

The rise of antibiotic resistance is a global health crisis and the most recent World Economic Forum Global Risks reports have listed anti­biotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to human health. Prosthetic related infection has been demonstrated as a biofilm correlated phenomenon, which is highly resistant to antibiotic treatment with poor prognosis. These infections involve a complex interplay among the biofilm-forming micro-organisms, host responses and the implant. Gristina has described the initiation of implant related infection as a “race for the surface”. The two issues of implant loosening and infection are therefore intimately related. Thus, promotion of osseointegration and prevention of bacterial colonization and subsequent biofilm formation are both clinically imperative and required for a successful implant. This project aims to move towards multifunctional coatings to simultaneously promote osseointegration and prevent infection of orthopaedic implants. In collaboration with RMIT University, we have been developing biomaterials with antibacterial activity.  In this project, the antibacterial activity of the materials will be tested for their in vitro inhibition biofilm formation of Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, among the most common pathogens in orthopaedic infections. The projects will also optimize the thickness of surface coating layer with respect to achieving the best antibacterial effects and biocompatibility.