Infections are always a concern with surgical procedures. They can lead to longer hospital stays which can not only ramp up healthcare costs but they can also lead to some devastating complications, like amputation.
The Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia has received a $2.5 million grant from the US Defense Department to do human trials with a phase 2 topical drug from Microbion Corp. to assess its effectiveness in preventing post orthopedic surgical infections, according to a statement from the Penn Medicine health system. The Defense Department grant comes through its Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.
The University of Pennsylvania will work with a team of researchers from Microbion and the University of California-San Francisco on the trial, which is set to begin next year pending FDA approval. Annamarie Horan, the director of clinical research for Penn Orthopaedics cautioned that the BisEDT gel was not intended to replace antibiotics, but is expected to be used as a supplemental treatment.
Samir Mehta, chief of the Orthopaedic Trauma & Fracture Service at Perelman School of Medicine said: “Orthopedic trauma and fracture patients are at an increased risk for infection. If successful, this new treatment strategy could be a significant step toward reducing instances of amputation, disability, and even death.”
Injuries to extremities are the most common injuries in combat, but they carry a high infection rate — upwards of 77 percent. Although the rate of post-surgical infections in civilian settings is much lower, it’s a significant issue. Of the 2.6 million orthopedic devices that are implanted annually in the United States, about 4.3 percent or 112,000 patients will get a post-operative infection, according to data from Penn.