New antimicrobial polymers may help curb surgical site infections (SSI) through the use of a novel antibiotic agent that can be incorporated into sutures. SSIs are the third most common hospital-acquired infection and may be associated with severe morbidity and mortality. Since more than 60% of SSIs occur in the area of the incision, the use of sutures coated with an antibacterial agent called PolyCides™, created by Radnor, PA-based PolyMedix Inc., may reduce infection rates. PolyMedix was recently awarded a US$150,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to support the development of these antimicrobial sutures. The company has developed a series of novel antimicrobial polymers for device and material applications, which it collectively calls the PolyCides.™ This particular grant will focus on one class of PolyCides that appears to be well-suited for development as an active agent in antimicrobial sutures.
The PolyCide polymers, like PolyMedix’s novel defensin-mimetic compounds, including its lead systemic antibiotic drug PMX-30063, are synthetic mimetics of the host-defense proteins, one of the oldest and most effective antimicrobial defense systems found in humans and virtually all living creatures. These compounds have a novel mechanism of action that directly disrupts the bacterial cell membranes, which researchers believe makes development of bacterial resistance unlikely to occur. “The primary goal of the grant is to develop antimicrobial sutures that have broad antimicrobial activity against pathogens associated with SSIs, and are less likely to develop resistance because of the unique mechanism of action of the PolyCide polymer materials. The development of improved antimicrobial sutures could be an important addition to the comprehensive effort to reduce SSIs,” says Nicholas Landekic, President and CEO of PolyMedix.