Researchers at a Canadian university have developed a new coating for implants that could reduce the infections they sometimes cause in patients.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute have developed the silver-based coating that can be applied to devices such as stents or catheters. It has been described as a “quick fix” to address the problem of bacteria that often complicate the conditions of patients with medical device implants.
“This is a highly effective coating that will not harm human tissue and could potentially eliminate infections associated with implants. This could be very cost-effective and could also be applicable to many different products,” Dr. Kizhakkedathu, a professor in UBC’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, said in a statement released by the university.
Kizhakkedathu is also co-lead author of a study describing the development that was published by the journal ACS Central Science last week.
According to the researchers, while silver has been shown to be an effective antimicrobial, its use in implants and medical devices can be toxic. The coating discovered by the research team and its associated technology eliminated these toxicity concerns and found a new way to prevent bacteria from sticking to and killing devices.
The UBC team led by Dr. Hossein Yazdani-Ahmadabadi, a former chemistry doctoral student from the Kizhakkedathu lab, generated the coating. A statement from UBC said: ‘Once implanted, it gradually releases silver ions in small, controlled amounts, enough to kill bacteria but not to damage human cells. It repels live and dead bacteria and other soiling agents from its surface, keeping it clean.
Although silver is a precious metal, the amount required for the coating is tiny and researchers have estimated that it would only add 50 cents Canadian (about 30 rupees) to the cost of a catheter.
“Since we prevent the attachment of live and dead bacteria, this coating has significant potential to maintain a clean surface for any device or material for an extended period of time, which we have not seen so far,” said the another co of the study. -lead author Dr. Dirk Lange, associate professor in UBC’s department of urological sciences, said.