Bone infections are often very difficult to treat, and with the rise of MRSA this issue has become only more challenging. A team of researchers from University of Missouri, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, and Silpakorn University in Thailand has developed a way of making tissue scaffolds that ward off MRSA while promoting natural healing at the site of their implantation.
The structure of the scaffold is made of polylactic acid (PLA), a polymer commonly used in implants. It is bioresorbable and is removed by the body over time. Over the structure a coating of silver ion is applied and stem cells ready to differentiate into bone are added.
The silver ions, already widely used to ward off infections in a variety of medical applications, prevent MRSA from settling in, while the stem cells turn to bone. The PLA structure and silver eventually disappear, leaving nothing but natural tissue.
All this is still relegated to the laboratory and is yet to be tried in animal models. Nevertheless, the proof-of-principle points to one day hip implant patients first donating some of their own cells before the surgery to prepare for the operation.