Bioluminescent bacteria enable translational research on hip implant infections

February 2, 2022

Dr. Hesham Abdelbary“This is an important step toward deepening our knowledge of implant infections and testing new therapies," -Dr. Hesham AbdelbaryA team led by Dr. Hesham Abdelbary has developed a unique rat model of an infected prosthetic hip which can help researchers better understand and treat this challenging problem. 

Implants infected with a slimy layer of bacteria are one of the most devastating and costly complications of joint replacement, affecting one to two percent of all knee and hip replacements. The best treatment is a second surgery to remove and clean the implant, which means patients face a longer recovery. 

The rat model described in The Bone & Joint Journal has a hip implant infected with a bioluminescent strain of Staphylococcus aureus. These luminescent bacteria allow researchers to non-invasively measure the progress of the infection in real time, as well as how it responds to treatments. 

Dr. Abdelbary and his team are planning to use this model to test preventative measures like antibiotic cement, or treatments like antibiotics and novel therapies like bacteriophages.

“This is an important step toward deepening our knowledge of implant infections and testing new therapies," said Dr. Hesham Abdelbary, orthopedic surgeon and senior clinical investigator at The Ottawa Hospital and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa.

Authors: William J. Hadden, Mazen Ibrahim, Mariam Taha, Kerstin Ure, Yun Liu, Adam D. M. Paish, David W. Holdsworth, Hesham Abdelbary

Funding: Physicians Services Incorporated Foundation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Ontario Research Fund. Research at The Ottawa Hospital is possible because of generous donations to The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

Core resources: University of Ottawa Behaviour and Physiology Core

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa.  

Media Contact
Amelia Buchanan
Senior Communication Specialist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute