Science Market Update

TJU Researchers Team Up with NIH on $9.8M MRSA Collaboration

Posted by Robert Larkin on Mon, Apr 13, 2015

MRSAImagine finally getting a knee replacement after dealing with years of crippling pain, only to develop a staph, or MRSA, infection at the surgery site. Not only is the pain still present, perhaps even worse, but rest of the body’s health is now at risk as well.

For tens of thousands of people recovering from knee surgery across the U.S., this is an unfortunate reality.

According to the CDC, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections. In medical facilities, MRSA causes life-threatening bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections.

Recent studies performed by scientists at Thomas Jefferson University in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health found that staph and MRSA infections are able to thrive in joint surgery sites in “biofilm-like clumps of bacteria”.

"In this study, we decided to find out if pre-operative, prophylactic antibiotic concentrations in joint fluid samples from patients were sufficient to prevent Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA contamination," said Noreen Hickok, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. "We found that high concentrations of the preferred antibiotic cefazolin are present in the synovial fluid. But when bacteria are introduced into this environment, the bacteria survive and continue to grow and form clumps."

thomas_jefferson_university_2The researchers found that Staphylococcus aureus bacteria were able to survive and thrive in the synovial fluid on model implant surfaces such as titanium pins, despite the introduction of antibiotics. Furthermore, the bacteria were able to embed themselves into antibiotic proteins and slow their growth, which may explain why joint infections tend to be difficult to treat.

"The next step is to see how we can disperse these mega-clusters of buried bacteria. If we can provide a window for antibiotics to carry out their intended function, we can move towards a clinical model and ultimately cure joint infection," offered Sana Dastgheyb, Ph.D., lead author on this study and researcher at both Thomas Jefferson University and the National Institutes of Health.

While working on MRSA and staph infections related to joints, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University and the National Institutes of Health have garnered over $9.8 million in NIH research funding. The grants vary in size and description, including an NIH training grant and funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

Thomas Jefferson University enrolls more than 3,600 future physicians, scientists and healthcare professionals in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC); Jefferson Schools of Health Professions, Nursing, Pharmacy, Population Health; and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and is home of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. (Source: Thomas Jefferson University)

Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia are granted millions of research dollars every year for their top-tier work in life science research.

For example:

  • The Sidney Kimmel Foundation awarded Thomas Jefferson University Medical College $110 million.
  • Thomas Jefferson University recently opened its $35.8 million new Jefferson Health Professions Academic Building.
  • TJU’s 2013 Life Science R&D Expenditures were $89,273,000.

thomas_jeff_3With nearly $90 million in annual R&D expenditures, Thomas Jefferson University represents a lucrative market for biotechnology and lab product suppliers.

Vendors interested in promoting their products in this well-funded and active research market are attending the 6th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at Thomas Jefferson University on Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

For more information about attending this event for free as a researcher, or as a paid exhibitor, please click the appropriate link below:

Learn More About  Thomas Jefferson Event

Researchers: Attend  Thomas Jefferson Event  

For a full schedule of 2015 Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. events, click here: 

Biotechnology Calendar, Inc.'s 2015 Trade Show Calendar

Tags: Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, 2015, Philadelphia, BioResearch Product Faire Event, PA, NIH funding, NIH grants, ThomJeff

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