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Stevens Institute of Technology

Research Highlight


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February 16, 2010

Stevens Hydrogel Research Highlighted on ABC News

ABC News Channel 7 in Denver recently posted an article discussing the risk of infection during orthopedic implant surgeries to patients who undergo hip, knee and shoulder replacement, as well as the research being done at Stevens Institute of Technology to prevent it.

According to the author, nearly 1 million people per year undergo these surgeries, and in about “1 to 2 percent of cases, an implant gets infected.” The most common cause of infection in these cases stems from the growth and proliferation of Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria, found in the skin and mucous membranes.

Stevens is on the forefront of innovation in this area, and research has led to the creation of ‘hydrogels’ that reduce the adherence of bacteria and the growth of biofilm on the skin surface, leading to a dramatic reduction in the risk and occurrence of infection.

Dr. Matthew Libera is the focus of a Stevens Ice Blog article that goes into detail on exactly this subject. In fact, he has orchestrated an entire research environment that has been built to study the many different aspects of biomaterials-associated infection. His primary focus comes in the use of hydrogels for differential cell adhesion, which he refers to as “one of the holy grails of modern biomaterials science.” Dr. Libera goes on to say, "It's now pretty easy to make a surface to which all different kinds of cells adhere. It's also pretty easy now to make a surface that repels pretty much all cells. The challenge is to make a surface that the good cells stick to but the bad cells avoid."

With a current market valued at more than $16 billion and a projected value exceeding $23 billion by 2010, this is an extremely hot topic, and the faculty at Stevens are leading development towards vastly improved methods of treatment and prevention.

For more information on Dr. Libera’s work, please visit our Ice Blog.


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