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Electrical Stimulation for Eradication and Prevention of Implant-Associated Infections

Infection following orthopaedic interventions is a devastating complication associated with increased patient morbidity, longer hospital stays and increased costs to the health care system. One of the primary mechanisms by which bacteria resist decontamination and persist in wounds and on implants is through the formation of biofilms. Bacteria in biofilms are highly resistant to antibiotics and necessitate the development of new strategies for the eradication and/or prevention of device-related biofilm infections.

We have developed an electrical stimulation method and have provided proof-of-principle data showing that it can effectively prevent formation of and/or eradicate bacterial biofilms on implantable orthopaedic devices. We utilize a potentiostatic three-electrode configuration to precisely modulate the voltage-dependent electrochemical processes at the surface of the metallic implant to elicit the antimicrobial response, while maintaining biocompatibility with the bone tissue. We are currently engaged in studies to further optimize this technology and treatment protocols.

Researchers

Funding Sources

Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (2010-2013), Bruce Holm Catalyst Fund (2013-2014) UB CTSA Pilot Studies Grant (2015-2016), Office of Naval Research (2016-2017)

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