Preventing infections with the help of silk implant coatings
AMSilk GmbH (AMSilk), a world leader in supplying innovative high-performance bio-based silk materials, today notes a study published in MRS Communications in June 2021 which demonstrates that AMSilk engineered spider silk coatings have the potential to prevent inflammation and to reduce post-operative complications of implants.
The study, led by Prof Thomas Scheibel, Professor of Biomaterials and Head of the Department at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and his team, tested the microbe repellence of AMSilk engineered spider silk coatings on a number of silicone implant materials against bacterial strains B. diminuta, R. pickettii, S. aureus and P. acnes. Results showed repellence properties of AMSilk’s silk coatings reduced microbial adherence up to 99.7% in comparison to uncoated silicone surfaces and scanning electron microscope (SEM) images showed a significant decrease in biofilm formation after 24 hours of incubation.
AMSilk engineered spider silk coatings work by creating a ‘bioshield’, a non-stick surface which has an ‘anti-adhesive’ effect to bacteria so that it does not adhere to the implant surface. AMSilk silk technology is completely safe: non-immunogenic, non-inflammatory, non-toxic and ‘bioharmonic’ for the human body and the immune system. It provides physical functionality only and has been tested in vitro, in vivo, and in human medical studies, consistently demonstrating excellent biocompatibility.
Together with its biocompatibility and biodegradability properties, spider silk has the potential to be part of a strategy to prevent infection-caused inflammation and to reduce complications of implant applications post-surgery.
Tilmann Petersen, Head of Business Development Medtech & Corporate Planning at AMSilk, said: “We are very encouraged by the study results, which supports the outstanding benefits and safety of our silk technology. AMSilk silk proteins can be applied as coating on medical devices such as implants or surgical mesh, or used in gel or spray form for wound care and medical skin care amongst many other applications. The benefits range from better device performance, complete biocompatibility and reduced biofilm formation, to easier handling for surgeons and a reduced risk of infection for the patient.”
Professor Thomas Scheibel who run the study adds: “In the near future, we will need new directions concerning the fight against infections, which have to be far beyond the simple use of antibiotics. In this respect, coatings made of AMSilk silk proteins are one important step towards a new generation of anti-fouling and at the same time biocompatible surfaces.”
AMSilk coatings are biocompatible and safe, making them suitable for various medical applications, including in particular the coating of medical products that are in contact with soft tissue in the human body (breast implants, cochlear implants, glucose sensors, orthopedic implants with contact to soft tissue, hernia meshes, wound bandages) as well as applications such as dermal fillers, scaffolds in tissue regeneration and cell therapy, bioprinting, bone and cartilage growing templates, smart drug delivery systems, biosensors and surgical meshes.