University of Missouri College of Engineering Dean and Bioengineering Professor Elizabeth Loboa and a team of colleagues recently discovered a way to slow and, in some cases, prevent the spread of MRSA while also regenerating new bone.
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, infections are a critical problem in the medical world, including the area of regenerative medicine. This form of antibiotic-resistant staph infection can cause serious complications after typical invasive procedures and can be easily spread through skin-to-skin contact. MRSA is one of the foremost causes of osteomyelitis, a disease that inflames and destroys bone as well as surrounding soft tissue.
But University of Missouri College of Engineering Dean and Bioengineering Professor Elizabeth Loboa and a team of colleagues – Mahsa Mohiti-Asli and Casey Molina of the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University, Diteepeng Thamonwan of Silpakorn University in Thailand and Behnam Pourdeyhimi of NCSU – recently discovered a way to slow and, in some cases, prevent the spread of MRSA while also regenerating new bone.
Loboa and her colleagues discovered that by seeding the proper amount of silver into a biodegradable scaffold alongside bone-forming stem cells, they could still rapidly form bone while either inhibiting MRSA growth or killing the infection outright.
‘The silver ions go in and completely disrupt the MRSA cell machinery, and they can inhibit growth and kill the bacteria,’ Loboa said. ‘It’s a fine line. If you overuse too much of the silver, it’s bad for the mammalian cells. We want to make sure we don’t hurt our host cells but kill the bacterial cells.’
The threads of the bone-creating scaffold were coated with a silver ion-containing solution before testing. Silver has proven effective in undoing bacteria mechanically, making it harder for bacteria to develop immunity.
University of Missouri College of Engineering engineering.missouri.edu/2017/01/silver-ions-prove-effective-treating-killing-antibiotic-resistant-staph-infection/