Powder metallurgy magnesium foam implants potential to carry anti-bacterial drugs

September 10, 2010

In a joint study published earlier this year, researchers of the Department of Materials Engineering and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Ben-Gurion University in Israel evaluated the production of biodegradable magnesium foam by powder metallurgy technology. The scientists explored the foam’s ability to carry and release drugs in a simulated physiological environments. The selected drug was gentamicin, which is commonly used to treat many types of bacterial infections.

The authors controlled the amount and delivery time of gentamicin by the amount of space-holding particles (spacer) that was mixed with the magnesium powder prior to the sintering process. As a result, the release profile of gentamicin from magnesium foam with 10 and 25% spacer was in accord with common dissolution kinetics of an active ingredient from polymeric drug delivery systems.

It was evident that the foam with 25% spacer contains significant numbers of interconnected pores, while the magnesium foam with 10% spacer had interconnected pores only in the region close to the external surface, which limits its potential capability to carry and release a significant quantity of drug.

The scientists conclude that the potential suitability of the magnesium foams can be considered for applications in which the drug should be active in a local area of the body. For example, this may include incorporating magnesium foams loaded with a therapeutic drug to treat possible infection in applications such as stent implantation and bone surgery, where the therapeutic drug is required in concert with the fixation treatment.

For more information visit: web.bgu.ac.il/Eng/Home

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