Enhancing osseointegration and preventing implant-associated infections through biomimetic nano-modifications

Author: Richard Bright

Bright, Richard, 2024 Enhancing osseointegration and preventing implant-associated infections through biomimetic nano-modifications, Flinders University, College of Medicine and Public Health

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The increasing need for titanium-based implants has caused a rise in implant-related infections and inadequate integration. To tackle this problem, scientists are creating new anti-infective technologies that can reduce the risk of infection and enhance host integration. These technologies involve the use of antimicrobial coatings, nanomaterials, and drug-eluting coatings. The implementation of these technologies is anticipated to enhance the safety and effectiveness of implants based on titanium, thereby leading to improved outcomes for patients.

Scientists are drawing inspiration from the intricate nanostructures present on the wings of cicadas and dragonflies to design synthetic materials capable of eradicating bacteria upon contact. By imitating and enhancing these nanostructures, researchers can develop materials that exhibit superior antibacterial properties and facilitate bone integration. Several methods have been employed to replicate and enhance the natural antimicrobial characteristics of these surfaces, paving the way for the creation of materials that hold promise in addressing these concerns.

Alkaline hydrothermal etching is a process used to etch a variety of materials, such as titanium, silicon, and other semiconductor materials. The process entails submerging the material in a heated alkaline solution, commonly sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or potassium hydroxide (KOH). The alkaline solution initiates a reaction with the material, leading to its controlled dissolution. The etching rate is typically regulated by modifying the temperature and concentration of the alkaline solution.

This research project aimed to evaluate the applicability of hydrophilic hydrothermally etched nanostructured surfaces for use in orthopedic and dental implants. The investigation focused on strategies to enhance, suppress, or shape the immune response, as they are crucial in various biomedical applications, including biomaterials. The project's objective was to further examine the viability of implementing a hydrothermally etched nanomodified surface on titanium-based implants, to reduce implant-related infections and improve osteointegration.

Keywords: Hydrothermally Etched, Titanium Implants, Nanostructures, Nanospikes, Antimicrobial, Antibiofilm, Biomaterials, Biocompatible, Bioinspired, Orthopedic, Prosthetic Joint Infection, PJI, implant-associated infections

Subject: Medical Biotechnology thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2024
School: College of Medicine and Public Health
Supervisor: Professor Krasimir Vasilev