Elisabeth Manville
Apr 25, 2012

New bone cement uses nanoparticles to reduce infection risk

Researchers at the A*STAR Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences have developed a new type of bone cement for use in hip and knee replacement surgeries that is less likely to lead to complications. The bone cement slowly releases antibiotic drugs, which could dramatically reduce infection rates and the need for further interventions. Conventional bone cements commonly use a polymer called Poly(methyl methacrylate), or PMMA, to fix new bone implants. These also may contain antibiotics, but they are released quickly in the body and can even become trapped within the cement and never be released. The new cement utilizes porous silica nanoparticles to carry antibiotics into the PMMA. “Our next step is to make multifunctional nanoparticles for bone cements which both release drugs and are detectable to X-rays,” Shou-Cang Shen, who led the research, said. “Bone cements that appear opaque to X-rays could allow for post-surgery observation and diagnosis of any problems.”