A plastic material already used in absorbable surgical sutures could also administer antibiotics to patients with brain infections, scientists report in a new study. Use of the material, placed directly on the brain's surface, could reduce the need for weeks of costly hospital stays now required for such treatment, they say in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

Infections are life-threatening complications that occur in about 5 to 10 percent of patients who have brain surgery. Current treatment involves intravenous antibiotics for up to eight weeks and extended, costly hospital stays. Previous studies showed that drug-delivering plastics could release antibiotics directly into the brain but additional surgery was needed to remove the plastic when treatment finished.  

Senior author Shih-Jung Liu and colleagues sought to develop a biodegradable version using a dissolvable plastic called poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) - PLGA.   

They describe development of PLGA fibers that release vancomycin, a powerful antibiotic that kills many microbes, including the infamous "MRSA," which shrugs off most other known antibiotics. They tested the fibers in rats, which are stand-ins for humans in these types of studies.

The experimental results suggested that the biodegradable nanofibers 
successfully released vancomyci
for more than 8 weeks in the cerebral cavity of rats. Furthermore, the membranes can cover the wall of the cavity after the removal of abscess more completely and achieve better drug delivery without inducing adverse mass effects in the brain.

Credit and link: DOI: 10.1021/cn400108q 

Citation: Yuan-Yun Tseng, Yu-Chun Kao, Jun-Yi Liao, Wei-An Chen, and Shih-Jung Liu, 'Biodegradable Drug-Eluting Poly[lactic-co-glycol acid] Nanofibers for the Sustainable Delivery of Vancomycin to Brain Tissue: In Vitro and in Vivo Studies', ACS Chem. Neurosci., July 1, 2013 DOI: 10.1021/cn400108q