In the small village of Thesinge in Groningen, about 100 reseachers from 11 different countries came this week together to discuss the problematic of infection of prostheses, artificial knee and hip. The annual event, which took place for the 4th time, did not only focus on research, but also on how their investigations and results can benefit the patient. A workshop given by the Healthy Ageing Campus, on how to get the ideas to the clinic as well as the presence of other representatives from the industry, for example Johnson&Johnson, put an interesting business angle to the discussion.
While surgeons illustrated the problem of prosthesis infection and its effects, scientists indicated how to face this problem with several potential solutions. During the discussion of these possible solutions with the industry, it became clear that the regulatory environment for infection inhibiting materials in Europe and the United States is quite complex. Additionally, the necessary research is cost intense and therefore difficult to fund.
The experts agreed that this problem should be solved to develop truly new materials and infection-resistant products that can change people’s lifes. Especially considering the fact that the numbers of patients will increase tremendous looking at the numbers of the aging population until 2030. To ensure the quality of life and avoid high costs for the treatment of patient with an infected prostheses, which is 5x higher than the placement of a prosthesis itself, showed the need for minimizing the risk of infection even more.
“We should not focus on what we can do, but what we want to achieve”, stated Edward van der Meer, director of the Healthy Ageing Campus. The active participation during the workshop shows the interest of researcher to get involved in the discussion around how to get their ideas to the surgeon and finally to the patient. Also infection-resistant materials will not only have application in modern medicine, but can also be used in the food industry, water pipes and many other areas where bacteria cause problems.
The meeting was initiated by two opinion leaders from the UMCG and a researcher from Salt Lake City, USA.