Understanding the interplay between orthopedic material and bacterial infections

Understanding intErplay Material bacterIaL orthopaedic InfectiOns (EMILIO)

Decreasing the susceptibility of biomaterials to bacterial colonisation is the best way to minimise the post-surgical infection rate. The orthopedic department of Maastricht University, together with Depuy Synthes, the Orthopaedics company of Johnson & Johnson, will work on developing novel materials to tackle this problem.

Infection of medical devices is a devastating complication after surgery, affecting around 1-2% of primary joint replacing implants, but up to 50% for trauma repair implants. Treatment is costly, requiring considerable pharmaceutical intervention, hospitalisation and often requires multiple surgeries. Even then treatment is not always effective, resulting in a necessity to amputate causing permanent disability. Due to the associated treatment difficulty and costs, new preventive technologies are key.

In this project antimicrobial properties and safety of new functionalised surfaces will be tested using in vitro and in vivo models. Upon successful completion of the project, selected technologies will be further tested to obtain technology concept validation in the lab and work towards clinical implementation. Depending on the material system and applications, the clinical study timeframe for these technologies could be 2-3 years after project end.

With the rapid emergence of antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics, technologies that prevent an infection of implants by prohibiting bacterial attachment to implant materials are crucial. In the EMILIO project several new functionalised surfaces are investigated to determine their ability to prevent implant related infections.
Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
1 - 3
Time period
36 months