Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Engineered biomaterial could improve success of medical implants

It’s a familiar scenario – a patient receives a medical implant and days later, the body attacks the artificial valve or device, causing complications to an already compromised system.
Expensive, state-of-the-art medical devices and surgeries often are thwarted by the body’s natural response to attack something in the tissue that appears foreign. Now, University of Washington engineers have demonstrated in mice a way to prevent this sort of response. Their findings were published online this week in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

The UW researchers created a synthetic substance that fully resists the body’s natural attack response to foreign objects. Medical devices such as artificial heart valves, prostheses and breast implants could be coated with this polymer to prevent the body from rejecting an implanted object.

“It has applications for so many different medical implants, because we literally put hundreds of devices into the body,” said Buddy Ratner, co-author and a UW professor of bioengineering and of chemical engineering. “We couldn’t achieve this level of excellence in healing before we had this synthetic hydrogel.”

The body’s biological response to implanted devices – medical technologies that often cost millions to develop – has frustrated experts for years. After an implant, the body usually creates a protein wall around the medical device, cutting it off from the rest of the body. Scientists call this barrier a collagen capsule. Collagen is a protein that’s naturally found in our bodies, particularly in connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments.

If a device such as an artificial valve or an electrode sensor is blocked off from the rest of the body, it usually fails to work. Physicians and scientists have tried to minimize this, but they haven’t been able to eliminate it, Ratner said.

Ratner’s collaborator and co-author Shaoyi Jiang, a UW professor of chemical engineering, and his team implanted the polymer substance into the bodies of mice. The substance is known as a hydrogel, a flexible biomedical material swollen with water. It’s made from a polymer that has both a positive and negative charge, which serves to deflect all proteins from sticking to its surface. Scientists have found that proteins appearing on the surface of a medical implant are the first signs that a larger collagen wall will form.

After three months, Jiang and his team found that collagen was loosely and evenly distributed in the tissue around the polymer, suggesting that the mice bodies didn’t even detect the polymer’s presence.

For humans, the first three weeks after an implant are the most critical, because by then the body will show signs of isolating the implant by building a collagen wall. If this hasn’t happened in the first several weeks, it’s likely the body won’t default to an attack response toward the object.

“Scientists have tried many materials, and with no exception, this is the first non-porous, synthetic substance demonstrating that no collagen capsule forms, which could have positive implications for implantable materials, tissue scaffolds and medical devices,” Jiang said.

UW researchers and others have worked for nearly 20 years to find a way to help the body accept implants. In 1996, the National Science Foundation-funded UW Engineered Biomaterials (UWEB) research center opened at the UW, with Ratner serving as director. Since that time, researchers have been trying to make a material that is invisible to the body’s immune response and could eliminate the body’s negative reaction to medical implants.

Now, nearly two decades years later, engineers have found the “perfect” substance, Ratner said.

“This hydrogel is not just pretty good, it’s exceptional,” he said.

The UW researchers plan to test this in humans, likely by working with manufacturers to coat an implantable device with the polymer, then measure its ability to ward off protein build-up.

The research was funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, UWEB and the UW Department of Chemical Engineering.

For more information, contact Ratner at or 206-685-1005 and Jiang at Jiang is traveling this week and is available by email.

Michelle Ma | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht From ancient fossils to future cars
21.10.2016 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>