Theragel: Hydrogel coating to reduce implant infections

Yadong Wang, PhD Bioengineering PI
Professor, Department of Bioengineering

David Schwartzman, PhD Clinical PI
Professor of Medicine
UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute

Despite best practices, infection of permanently implanted devices remains a serious problem. Although uncommon, the ramifications of such infections are severe. Current products for infection prevention are cumbersome to use, which often complicates implantation, and have short release windows. New technologies to eliminate these problems would be of great human and economic value. Toward this end, we are developing TheraGel, a material which delivers high-dose antibiotics for a sustained period locally to a region encompassing a freshly implanted device. The in-situ gelling solution conforms to the anatomical shape of the implantation site, thus ensuring sterility and eliminating the possibility of infection. Over the past year with the seed funding from Coulter TPII, we have demonstrated efficacy of the material in an animal model which mimics the human condition. Full TPII funding will be used to optimize TheraGel for this purpose and position it for marketization. Parallel development of the material for other in-need markets, such as orthopedic and neurosurgery will be pursued.