Southern Miss school makes medical discovery

Published 7:18 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Scientific, business and news organizations from New York to Beijing are praising a promising recent discovery at the University of Southern Mississippis polymer science school.

The finding, a way to arm medical instruments against pernicious bacteria, could translate into that elusive blend of far-reaching public health impact and cold, hard cash.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says about 90,000 Americans die every year from infections contracted when they are being treated in hospitals for unrelated conditions. Tools used in surgeries, medical implants and other devices can carry nasty bacteria that enter the body unbeknownst to doctors and overwhelm a patient’s immune system.

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If you ask Southern Miss polymers chair and professor Marek Urban, the coating is the key.

With National Science Foundation funding, Urban’s research team says it has found a way to modify the surface of medical devices to allow the antibiotic penicillin to coat them, killing bacteria that may try to contaminate the device.

Information from: The Hattiesburg American,