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Open Access Nano Express

Drug-eluting Ti wires with titania nanotube arrays for bone fixation and reduced bone infection

Karan Gulati, Moom Sinn Aw and Dusan Losic*

Author Affiliations

Ian Wark Research Institute, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes Boulevard, Mawson Lakes, Adelaide, South Australia, 5095, Australia

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:571  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-571

Published: 31 October 2011

Abstract

Current bone fixation technology which uses stainless steel wires known as Kirschner wires for fracture fixing often causes infection and reduced skeletal load resulting in implant failure. Creating new wires with drug-eluting properties to locally deliver drugs is an appealing approach to address some of these problems. This study presents the use of titanium [Ti] wires with titania nanotube [TNT] arrays formed with a drug delivery capability to design alternative bone fixation tools for orthopaedic applications. A titania layer with an array of nanotube structures was synthesised on the surface of a Ti wire by electrochemical anodisation and loaded with antibiotic (gentamicin) used as a model of bone anti-bacterial drug. Successful fabrication of TNT structures with pore diameters of approximately 170 nm and length of 70 μm is demonstrated for the first time in the form of wires. The drug release characteristics of TNT-Ti wires were evaluated, showing a two-phase release, with a burst release (37%) and a slow release with zero-order kinetics over 11 days. These results confirmed our system's ability to be applied as a drug-eluting tool for orthopaedic applications. The established biocompatibility of TNT structures, closer modulus of elasticity to natural bones and possible inclusion of desired drugs, proteins or growth factors make this system a promising alternative to replace conventional bone implants to prevent bone infection and to be used for targeted treatment of bone cancer, osteomyelitis and other orthopaedic diseases.

Keywords:
Kirschner wires; titanium wires; titania nanotubes; bone fixation; bone infection; gentamicin