University Medical Center Utrecht | Orthopedic Surgery
Ruben Nurmohamed, MD and PhD-candidate

In implant surgery, periprosthetic infections are a growing problem. Foreign bodies like metal implants are a risk factor for bacterial infections whereas 1-2% of all implant surgeries results in periprosthetic osteomyelitis. Up to 10% of these infections will become chronic, non-treatable, leading to severe disability and sometimes lifelong antibiotic suppression of the infection. Many of the periprosthetic infections are difficult to treat as the bacteria form a biofilm on the prosthetic material that hinders the host immune system and makes penetration by antibiotics difficult.

To cope with this problem, a novel treatment concept has been developed. The idea consists of selectively targeting the bacteria and biofilm with specific vehicles that are bound to radionuclides. A radionuclide is a nuclide with excess of energy that emits ionization radiation. This radiation is toxic for the bacteria and the biofilm.

These bacteria and biofilm specific vehicles can be accomplished by making special antibodies. The infection can be killed with radiation by binding these specific antibodies to radionuclides. This type of treatment is called radioimmunotherapy.

Moreover, this concept can also be applied on non-implant related infections, such as a spondylodiscitis. This is a bacterial infection of the intervertebral disc and the adjacent vertebra. We want to use the neuro syringe and the 1800 syringe series to induce a spondylodiscitis by injecting bacteria in a rat’s tail. These special type of syringes makes it possible to inject with small volumes. Also, minimizing the infection site damage is important to minimize leakage and other complications. With this grant, we can evaluate which type of syringe is best suited for inducing a spondylodiscitis in this unique animal infection model. As result, the right syringe can be used in the future by peer-reviewers for inducing a spondylodiscitis in rodents.

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