Editors' ChoiceTissue Transplantation

Antibiotic Augmentation of Allografts

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Science Translational Medicine  07 Apr 2010:
Vol. 2, Issue 26, pp. 26ec57
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001125

Like modern-day Dr. Frankensteins, tissue banks harvest organs and tissues from the dead so as to restore the health of the living. Heart valves, corneas, and bones are among the millions of allografts harvested each year in order to replace damaged and diseased tissues in patients worldwide. Although each donor is screened to exclude tissue from questionable allograft sources, bacterial contamination during processing and handling steps is a major source of potential infection in allograft use.

To address this problem, Ketonis et al. developed new technology to immobilize antibiotics and drugs on the surface of collagenous tissue grafts. Unlike conventional impregnation and soaking techniques, this drug-immobilization technology attaches the antibiotic covalently to amine groups on the proteins of the extracellular matrix and can provide long-term, localized availability of the drug. With this method, the antibiotic vancomycin was bonded to the surface of bone allografts, and these bones were then cultured with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Compared with untreated bone grafts, bone grafts coated with immobilized antibiotic had many fewer adherent bacteria—by approximately 90%—and also showed reduced bacteria colonization. Expanding this technology to attach drugs that speed up healing or reduce allograft rejection will further improve the functionality and availability of allografts for patients.

C. Ketonis et al., Antibiotic modification of native grafts: Improving upon nature’s scaffolds. Tissue Engineering Part A. 24 March 2010 (10.1089/ten.tea.2009.0610). [Abstract]

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