Silver ion-coated medical devices could fight MRSA while creating new bone

February 8, 2017
This microscopic image shows silver-coated, stem cell-seeded scaffolds after MRSA bacteria were introduced. These medical devices can help health care providers fight MRSA while growing lost bone tissue. Credit: Mahsa Mohiti-Asli, NC State University

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are caused by a type of staph bacteria that has become resistant to the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections. The rise of MRSA infections is limiting the treatment options for physicians and surgeons. Now, an international team of researchers, led by Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the University of Missouri College of Engineering, has used silver ion-coated scaffolds, or biomaterials that are created to hold stem cells, which slow the spread of or kill MRSA while regenerating new bone. Scientists feel that the biodegradable and biocompatible scaffolds could be the first step in the fight against MRSA in patients.

"Osteomyelitis is a debilitating infection that can result when MRSA invades , including bone marrow or surrounding soft tissues," said Loboa, who also is a professor of bioengineering. "Increasingly, those in the healthcare profession are running out of choices when it comes to treating MRSA while regenerating tissue. Using previously reported scaffolds that were created in our lab, we set out to determine the efficacy of coating these structures with and whether they were useful in treating or preventing osteomyelitis."

The scaffolds were created from a polymer called polylactic acid (PLA), which is an FDA approved material that eventually biodegrades in the body. Next, researchers applied a silver ion releasing coating to the scaffolds and "seeded" them with fat-derived adult that could be "triggered" to create bone cells. Researchers also seeded the scaffolds with MRSA so that they could observe whether silver ions could fight the bacteria. The scientists found that the silver ion-releasing scaffolds not only inhibited MRSA, but also supported bone tissue formation.

The video will load shortly.
The rise of MRSA infections is limiting the treatment options for physicians and surgeons. Now, an international team of researchers, led by Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the University of Missouri College of Engineering, has used silver ion-coated scaffolds, or biomaterials that are created to hold stem cells, which slow the spread of or kill MRSA while regenerating new bone. Scientists feel that the biodegradable and biocompatible scaffolds could be the first step in the fight against MRSA in patients. Credit: MU News Bureau

"Silver is well known for its antimicrobial properties and is highly toxic to a wide range of microorganisms such as MRSA," Loboa said. "Silver ions work mechanically—they actually disrupt the cellular machinery of MRSA. Our research now has shown that bone tissues still can be formed even in the presence of MRSA. We've created the materials needed for bone tissue engineering that will allow patients to use their own fat cells to create patient-specific bone and surgically implant those cells and tissues while diminishing, or potentially eliminating, the risk of MRSA infection."

The early-stage results of this research are promising. If additional studies are successful within the next few years, MU officials could request authority from the federal government to begin human device development. After this status has been granted, researchers may conduct human clinical trials with the hope of developing new treatments for osteomyelitis.

Their findings, "Evaluation of Silver Ion-Releasing Scaffolds in a 3-D Coculture system of MRSA and Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cells for Their Potential Use in Treatment or Prevention of Osteomyelitis" recently was published in the journal Tissue Engineering, Part A

Explore further: Promising results using silver-releasing scaffolds in MRSA infection of bone

More information: Mahsa Mohiti-Asli et al. Evaluation of Silver Ion-Releasing Scaffolds in a 3D Coculture System of MRSA and Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cells for Their Potential Use in Treatment or Prevention of Osteomyelitis, Tissue Engineering Part A (2016). DOI: 10.1089/ten.tea.2016.0063

Related Stories

Promising results using silver-releasing scaffolds in MRSA infection of bone

January 4, 2017
Researchers developed a biocompatible scaffold capable of controlled-release of silver ions and have shown in a new study that it can inhibit infection of bone by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA. ...

Team develops new antibiotic formulation to fight MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria

May 18, 2016
A University of Oklahoma team of chemists has developed a new antibiotic formulation to fight the sometimes deadly staph infection caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus or MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant infectious ...

New study explains why MRSA 'superbug' kills influenza patients

August 15, 2016
Researchers have discovered that secondary infection with the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacterium (or "superbug") often kills influenza patients because the flu virus alters the antibacterial response ...

Immunization for MRSA on the horizon

February 14, 2012
Methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA) infections are resistant to antibiotics and can cause a myriad of problems -- bone erosion, or osteomyelitis, which shorten the effective life of an implant and greatly hinder replacement ...

Recommended for you

Link between cells associated with aging and bone loss

August 21, 2017
Mayo Clinic researchers have reported a causal link between senescent cells - the cells associated with aging and age-related disease - and bone loss in mice. Targeting these cells led to an increase in bone mass and strength. ...

Are stem cells the link between bacteria and cancer?

August 17, 2017
Gastric carcinoma is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths, primarily because most patients present at an advanced stage of the disease. The main cause of this cancer is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, ...

Two-step process leads to cell immortalization and cancer

August 17, 2017
A mutation that helps make cells immortal is critical to the development of a tumor, but new research at the University of California, Berkeley suggests that becoming immortal is a more complicated process than originally ...

New Pathology Atlas maps genes in cancer to accelerate progress in personalized medicine

August 17, 2017
A new Pathology Atlas is launched today with an analysis of all human genes in all major cancers showing the consequence of their corresponding protein levels for overall patient survival. The difference in expression patterns ...

Female mouse embryos actively remove male reproductive systems

August 17, 2017
A protein called COUP-TFII determines whether a mouse embryo develops a male reproductive tract, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and their colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. The ...

New technique overcomes genetic cause of infertility

August 17, 2017
Scientists have created healthy offspring from genetically infertile male mice, offering a potential new approach to tackling a common genetic cause of human infertility.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.