Biomaterials for Imaging and Modulating Inflammation and Infection

Inflammatory responses to implanted biomedical devices severely limit the biological performance of various devices in millions of patients. Furthermore, device-associated infections, such as catheter-associated bloodstream and surgical site infections, result in substantial morbidity and mortality and raise the cost of caring for patients. The inability to directly monitor/image inflammatory responses and infections associated with implanted devices is a major roadblock to the evaluation/diagnosis of device-associated inflammation and infection as well as the development of effective therapies. We have developed near-infrared fluorescent probes for minimally-invasive, in vivo imaging of device-associated inflammation and infection (Fig. 7). We are currently engineering coatings for neural electrodes and nanoparticles to deliver immunomodulatory agents to arthritic joints to reduce inflammation associated with these conditions. Finally, we are engineering biomaterials (catheters, degradable nanoparticles) presenting active agents directed against common bacterial pathogens involved in urinary catheter and cystic fibrosis infections. We are currently evaluating ability of our anti-infection materials to reduce infections in animal models of device-related infection and cystic fibrosis infections.


Figure 7.Near-infrared fluorescence molecular probes to image biomaterial-associated inflammation. (a) Fluorescence images of mice receiving local injections of probes for longitudinal imaging of inflammation. (b) Quantification of fluorescence signal showing differences between biomaterial-associated inflammation and trauma.