Theragel: Hydrogel coating to reduce implant infections

Yadong Wang, PhD Bioengineering PI
Associate Professor of Bioengineering

David Schwartzman, MD Clinical PI
Professor of Medicine
Cardiovascular Institute (Cardiac Electrophysiology)
Director, Atrial Arrhythmia Center

Many medical device implantations (hip and knee implant, pace maker etc.) are associated with increased risk of infection. The technology developed in this project will be applicable to many types of medical implants. For proof of concept, the focus will be permanent cardiac rhythm management devices (CRMD). Despite best current practices,post-CRMD implantation infection continues to occur in approximately 2% of US cases, and up to 9% in high risk populations (diabetics, smokers, etc). The implications of CRMD infection are profound, given that they cannot be cured without complete explanation of the CRMD system. The proposed solution is a biodegradable and biocompatible polymeric vehicle that will deliver rifampin and minocycline over several weeks after application. The material is an injectable liquid that gels at body temperature, permitting simple injection just prior to CRMD wound closure, with subsequent natural mixing of wound contents ensuring wide and more complete dispersal. This material can be made inexpensively so it is better positioned to become part of the future standard of care.