Researcher Studying Nanofiber Sutures to Prevent Surgical Site Infections

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Researcher Studying Nanofiber Sutures to Prevent Surgical Site Infections

Jingwei Xie, Ph.D, a biomedical engineer at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, has been awarded a four-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the nanofiber-based local delivery of immunomodulating compounds for prevention of surgical site infections (SSIs). The nanofiber sutures contain vitamin D, which is thought to be able to induce production of an infection-fighting peptide at the surgical site.

SSIs are the most common and costly of all hospital-acquired infections, accounting for 20 percent of all hospital-acquired infections. They occur in an estimated 2 percent to 5 percent of patients undergoing inpatient surgery. The estimated annual incidence of SSIs in the U.S. ranges from 160,000 to 300,000, and the estimated annual cost ranges from $3.5 billion to $10 billion. On average, a SSI increases the hospital length of stay by 9.7 days. The nanofiber sutures can deliver a variety of bioactive compounds to minimize infection risk, optimize healing and minimize scarring, while circumventing some of the problems seen with anti-infective sutures containing triclosan.

The grant is through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, one of the institutes of the NIH. Dr. Xie, who is an assistant professor in the UNMC Department of Surgery – Transplant and the Holland Regenerative Medicine Program, is the principal investigator on the grant. He is collaborating with Adrian F. Gombart, Ph.D., associate professor, biochemistry and biophysics, in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (OSU).