Designing a Biodegradable Biomaterial for Controlled Drug Delivery in Orthopedic Surgery


Program: Materials Science and Engineering

Osteomyelitis is an infection in the bone that can be acquired through a variety of ways. In order to combat this, orthopedic surgeons used PMMA as a drug delivery vessel, which is a way to introduce antibiotics to the site while also stabilizing the area.

There are two major problems with PMMA. One is that it is not biodegradable. Surgeons usually have to go back in to remove the PMMA and sometimes this can cause further harm as it disrupts new bone growth. Second, the PMMA released antibiotics in a ‘burst’ effect, meaning most of the drugs are eluted out in the first 3 days.

The proposed design is for a magnesium-based biomaterial that is coated with layers of a PLA – Vancomycin solution. This allows for Vancomycin to be released at a consistent rate, as small burst of Vancomycin would be released as layers of PLA degrade. Magnesium is also biodegradable, has properties similar to native bone, and is osteoconductive which makes it a strong candidate for bone applications.

In this specific research, the focus was on characterizing and understating how PLA would work in our system.

Timothy Weihs
Beril Ulugun
Kerri-lee Chintersingh
Ryan Guilbault

Team Members

  • Olayide Ashiru
  • Hutomo Tanoto

Project Links

Schematic of the Magnesium + PLA +Vancomycin Biomaterial