23 January 2017

A new approach to the manufacture of medical implants

The use of medical implants, such as stents, catheters and intravenous infusion systems, is associated with the risk of thrombosis and infection. Researchers at Colorado State University have proposed a potential solution to this problem, which consists in the use of a specially "grown" superhemophobic titanium surface with exceptionally pronounced blood-repellent properties. This material can be used for the manufacture of surgical implants with a low risk of rejection by the body.

The new titanium material is the brainchild of the joint work of two research groups working under the leadership of Associate Professor Arun Kota and Associate Professor Ketul Popat. The first is an expert in the field of new superomniphobic materials that repel almost any liquid, and the second is an innovator in the field of tissue engineering and biocompatible materials.

Drops of blood, plasma and water on a super-homophobic titanium surface.

According to the authors, the use of a hemophobic (blood-repelling) material may look illogical, since researchers often use hemophilic (having an affinity for blood) materials for the manufacture of implants in order to ensure their biocompatibility. According to Dr. Kot, his group adhered to the opposite principle. The material developed by them repels blood so much that it is practically not recognized by the body as foreign.

Unwanted interaction between blood and foreign materials is a very serious problem. Over time, stents can cause the formation of blood clots, vascular obstruction, which, in turn, can lead to myocardial infarction and embolism. Often such patients are forced to take blood-thinning drugs for the rest of their lives, which is also associated with the risk of side effects.

The reason for the formation of blood clots is the attachment of platelets to the surface of the implants, followed by the start of the clotting process. Therefore, minimizing the probability of blood contact with the implant surface practically eliminates the risk of thrombosis.

Taking as a basis thin sheets of titanium, traditionally used for the manufacture of medical devices, the authors created and analyzed many variants of surfaces that differ from each other in texture and chemical composition. As part of this analysis, they compared the degree of platelet adhesion to these surfaces and the levels of their subsequent activation. As a result, it turned out that the strongest protection against thrombosis is provided by a coating of fluorinated nanotubes.

Fluorinated nanotubes are an ideal barrier
between the blood and the titanium surface.

In the future, they plan to analyze the interaction of this surface with other coagulation factors and, eventually, to test medical implants created on its basis.

Article by Sanli Movafaghi et al. Hemocompatibility of Superhemophobic Titania Surfaces is published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on materials from Colorado State University: Blood-repellent materials: A new approach to medical implants.


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