The interdisciplinary research group took a different path. The aim was to use natural materials to reduce, suppress or kill bacteria on calcium phosphate crystals. In the project "Biocapabili" short for "Biomimetic Calcium Phosphate Anti-bacterial Bone Implants for Local-infection Inhibition" the international team has worked with various substances and compounds: with silver, copper and zinc ions, for example, but also with enzymes and peptides which kill bacteria. The French researchers have managed to incorporate metal ions into the apatite crystals. The biologists in Stuttgart have been able to provide evidence that the finished powder actually protects against infection: In the IGB laboratory, Iris Trick put the samples on microtiter plates in mutually insulated cups, infected them with bacteria, and then allowed the bacteria to grow for several days. Among them were several Staphylococcus species, which are among the most common hospital germs. The result: In the immediate vicinity of the apatite, the number of bacteria was reduced by more than 90 percent.
A peptide coating has turned out to be equally effective: "With the help of peptides, apatite granules and pellets are protected against bacteria," says Dr. Michaela Mller, who applies the coatings at the IGB. The hardness test in the microbiological testing has already been passed: The dangerous bacteria could not multiply on the surface of the pellets and granules. This means that antibacterial bone implants can be produced with the peptide coating.
"However, antibacterial activity alone is not everything in medicine," says Dr. Anke Burger-Kentischer, group manager of Molecular Cell Technology at the IGB. "Before a product can be used in practice, it has to be ensured that it does not harm the patient." The researchers have already taken the first step. Human cell cult
|Contact: Dr. Iris Trick|