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A new discovery may help curb surgical site infections (SSI) through the use of a novel antibiotic agent that can be incorporated into sutures. SSIs are the third most common hospital-acquired infection and may be associated with severe morbidity and mortality. Since more than 60 percent of SSIs occur in the area of the incision, the use of sutures coated with an antibacterial agent called PolyCides™, created by Radnor, Pa.-based PolyMedix Inc., may reduce infection rates.
PolyMedix was recently awarded a $150,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to support the development of these antimicrobial sutures. The company has developed a series of novel antimicrobial polymers for device and material applications, which it collectively calls the PolyCides.™ This particular grant will focus on one class of PolyCides that appears to be well-suited for development as an active agent in antimicrobial sutures. The grant commences on July 1, 2010 and will support six months of research.
The PolyCide polymers, like PolyMedix’s novel defensin-mimetic compounds, including its lead systemic antibiotic drug PMX-30063, are synthetic mimetics of the host-defense proteins, one of the oldest and most effective antimicrobial defense systems found in humans and virtually all living creatures. These compounds have a novel mechanism of action that directly disrupts the bacterial cell membranes, which researchers believe makes development of bacterial resistance unlikely to occur. The PolyCide polymers, including those to be studied under the grant, have distinct chemical structures that differ from those of PMX-30063 or other agents and that may be studied for their use in treating patients.
“The primary goal of the grant is to develop antimicrobial sutures that have broad antimicrobial activity against pathogens associated with SSIs, and are less likely to develop resistance because of the unique mechanism of action of the PolyCide polymer materials. The development of improved antimicrobial sutures could be an important addition to the comprehensive effort to reduce SSIs,” says Nicholas Landekic, president and CEO of PolyMedix.
If successful, PolyMedix hopes to apply this technology to other wound closure applications to augment infection control. Furthermore, PolyMedix hopes to expand this technology to improve infection control associated with other medical devices and procedures, potentially including catheters and implants, where infections may occur.
“We greatly appreciate the National Science Foundation’s recognition of the significance of our novel antimicrobial compounds and unique technology by awarding us this grant,” Landekic said. “This award will provide the opportunity to further develop the medical device applications of our defensin-mimetic technology, which could provide clinicians with important additional weapons in the fight against surgical site infections.”