Polyethylene Implants with Controlled Immune Response

Executive Summary

Polyethylene is commonly used as a material for medical implants such as total joint replacements. Unfortunately, polyethylene wear particles can promote adverse host immune responses in patients, which may require secondary revision surgery. MSU researchers have recently discovered that metabolic reprogramming and altered bioenergetics is a key reason for the adverse immune responses and have developed a novel means of reducing them by the incorporation of metabolic inhibitors into the implanted materials.


Description of the Technology

This technology utilizes various small molecule inhibitors incorporated into the implant material to target metabolic pathways in key immune cells. The presence, and then release of these inhibitors during the breakdown of polyethylene-based implants, inhibits different steps of the glycolytic pathway and prevents undesired inflammation. A variety of types of inhibitors can be incorporated into the implant such as on the surface or dispersed in the material depending on the application. The implementation of these small molecule inhibitors into biomedical implants enables the safe application in soft- and hard- tissue regeneration, nanomedicine, and drug delivery. This technology has currently been demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo.



  • Results in less inflammation resulting from polyethylene implants
  • Potential to recruit stem cells for tissue regeneration
  • Applicable to both human and animal implants
  • Flexible design and formulation depending on application and implant size
  • Can be used for bone, cartilage, tendon, skin and other tissues
  • Prevents need for secondary surgery or medical intervention



  • Human orthopedics
  • Veterinary (including but not limited to equine, porcine, canine, feline) orthopedics
  • Sports medicine
  • Dental applications
  • Soft tissue regeneration
  • Ophthalmologic medications
  • Drug delivery


Patent Status

Patent pending


Licensing Rights

Full licensing rights available



Oct 18, 2022 BioRxiv article

Feb 2023 Journal of Immunology and Regenerative Medicine Article  



Dr. Chima Maduka, DVM, PhD, Dr. Christopher H. Contag, PhD, Dr. Stuart Goodman, MD, PhD




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Jon Debling
Technology Manager
Michigan State University