Current developments in calcium phosphate cement (CPC) technology concern the use of ready-to-use injectable cement pastes by dispersing the cement powder in a water-miscible solvent, such that, after injection into the physiological environment, setting of cements occurs by diffusion of water into the cement paste. It has also been demonstrated recently that the combination of a water-immiscible carrier liquid combined with suitable surfactants facilitates a discontinuous liquid exchange in CPC, enabling the cement setting reaction to take place. This paper reports on the use of these novel cement paste formulations as a controlled release system of antibiotics (gentamicin, vancomycin). Cement pastes were applied either as a one-component material, in which the solid drugs were physically dispersed, or as a two-component system, where the drugs were dissolved in an aqueous phase that was homogeneously mixed with the cement paste using a static mixing device during injection. Drug release profiles of both antibiotics from pre-mixed one- and two-component cements were characterized by an initial burst release of ∼7–28%, followed by a typical square root of time release kinetic for vancomycin. Gentamicin release rates also decreased during the first days of the release study, but after ∼1 week, the release rates were more or less constant over a period of several weeks. This anomalous release kinetic was attributed to participation of the sulfate counter ion in the cement setting reaction altering the drug solubility. The drug-loaded cement pastes showed high antimicrobial potency against Staphylococcus aureus in an agar diffusion test regime, while other cement properties such as mechanical performance or phase composition after setting were only marginally affected.

This paper was originally published in Acta Biomaterialia 9, 9558-9567, and was republished as part of a dedicated Virtual Special Issue.