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Format: 04/21/2014
Format: 04/21/2014


Reuters: AGH Researchers Launch First Studies Exploring Role of Biofilm Infections in Failure of Joint Replacement Surgery and Bone Fracture Healing

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

AGH Researchers Launch First Studies Exploring Role of Biofilm Infections in
Failure of Joint Replacement Surgery and Bone Fracture Healing



PITTSBURGH, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers from Allegheny
General Hospital's (AGH) Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Center for
Genomic Sciences have launched dual groundbreaking studies that may help
determine the cause of two common, hard-to-treat problems experienced by
patients who undergo orthopedic surgery: a joint replacement that becomes
infected and a bone fracture that will not heal properly.

Both clinical trials will focus on the role of biofilms -- formidable, highly
resistant communities of bacteria -- as a root cause of these surgical

AGH's Center for Genomic Sciences is led by two of the world's foremost
experts on biofilm bacteria, J. William Costerton, Ph.D., director of Biofilm
Research, and Garth Ehrlich, Ph.D., executive director. Dr. Costerton is also
director of Microbiology Research for AGH's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.


Under the direction of principal investigators Dr. Costerton and Sandeep
Kathju, M.D., Ph.D
., director of the Center for Genomic Science's Wound
Healing Program, the AGH team is the first in the country to explore the
impact of biofilm infections on the success of orthopaedic procedures.

"This innovative research project addresses two fundamental surgical risks
that healthcare professionals in our field confront on a daily basis. These
complications not only cause a tremendous amount of suffering among patients,
but they are also exceedingly costly to hospitals," said Patrick DeMeo, M.D.,
chairman of AGH's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Infections occur in an estimated 2 percent of primary total joint replacements
and as many as 15 percent of revision total joint replacements. The costs of
treating such infections range from $15,000 to $100,000 per case.

AGH's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is one of the state's largest and most
comprehensive programs, performing more than 12,000 orthopaedic operations
each year.

The first biofilm study examines how the presence of such bacteria affects the
natural process of bone healing. The outcome could shed light not only on
whether or not biofilms are found in the setting of non-healing -- or
non-union -- bone fractures, but if so, how physicians might one day more
effectively treat the condition and improve the healing process.

To read more, visit the Reuters web site.

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