Growing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the major global challenges and is linked to the use of unnecessarily high doses of orally administered antibiotics following medical surgery and infections. Improving the health of China’s ageing population would provide vital societal and economic benefits, however this fuels an increasing demand for surgical interventions such as joint replacement. As the demand for such procedures increases so does the associated patient waiting time and also the use of antibiotics, increasing the risks of AMR. Reducing the use of antibiotics and the need for revision surgery is a long term challenge, so optimal dosing, duration of therapy and developing alternatives to antibiotics can must also be considered as strategies to reduce AMR. In this project we will develop a biodegradable hybrid material that can be used to manufacture suture materials and other medical devices which can simultaneously store and deliver antibiotics but also alternatives such as anti-inflammatories and nitric oxide in a slow and controlled rate to specific targeted sites.
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a class of recently developed porous materials with very high accessible surface area. The functional groups inside the pores of the MOFs can be modified to interact and store different drug molecules, and this class of materials has shown promising results for drug delivery applications. However, the majority of the MOFs suffer from poor stability. This project will take advantage of this drawback, so that the MOFs will decompose with time together with biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA) polymer matrices thus delivering guest drug molecules to targeted sites. Both MOFs and PLAs are of interest for drug delivery applications and are the subject of significant levels of research. However, the combination of these two classes of materials offers exciting potential for bioresorbable drug carriers which can formed into novel biomedical devices such as implants. This project will explore this highly promising area to develop novel composite materials which can be used to manufacture devices that can deliver a controlled drug release. This will help to reduce the use of strong non-targeted antibiotics in excess, and therefore, help to reduce the growing problem of AMR which is especially relevant to the developing countries, such as India and China.