Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Natural polyester makes new sutures stronger, safer

26.03.2007
With the help of a new type of suture based on MIT research, patients who get stitches may never need to have them removed.

A biopolymer suture cleared last month by the FDA is made of materials that the human body produces naturally, so they can be safely absorbed once the wound is healed. They are also 30 percent stronger than sutures now used and very flexible, making them easier for surgeons to work with.

The sutures were developed by Tepha, Inc., a Cambridge company that hopes to use the same material to produce an array of absorbable medical devices, including stents, surgical meshes and possibly a heart valve scaffold, says Simon Williams, CEO of Tepha and a former MIT postdoctoral associate.

Williams said he envisions that the new sutures will be used for abdominal closures, which are prone to re-opening, and to stitch tendons and ligaments.

Developed using a method created at MIT, the absorbable sutures are the first made from material produced by genetically modified bacteria.

About 20 years ago, researchers in the laboratory of MIT biology professor Anthony Sinskey started swapping genes between different bacteria, hoping to achieve industrial production of desirable natural compounds synthesized by those bacteria.

The researchers focused their "biopolymer engineering" efforts on a group of genes that code for enzymes in a pathway that produces polyesters. Those polyesters can be broken down into metabolites naturally produced by humans, so they cause no harm when absorbed.

Once the genes were identified, they could be transferred into a strain of industrial E. coli that can produce large quantities of the strong, flexible polymer.

The FDA cleared the biopolymer sutures on Feb. 8, and Williams said Tepha plans to start marketing them soon, in partnership with another company.

"Not only is it technically and in an engineering sense a tremendous victory, but it's also a victory for society because this leads to new medical devices that can help people in new and novel ways," said Sinskey, who is one of the founders of Tepha and sits on its board of directors.

The new suture is the first of what the researchers hope will be many medical devices made from the natural polyesters.

"What we've found is that this one material seems to be finding a lot of use in different applications," because of its wide range of desirable properties, Williams said.

Tepha is now working on developing other medical devices, such as surgical meshes, multifilament fibers and stents. Ultimately, the researchers hope to develop an artificial scaffold that could be used to grow heart valves after being implanted in a patient, which would spare children with heart valve defects from undergoing repeated surgeries.

Tests of the device in animals have shown promise.

"We've been able to show we can produce a valve scaffold that functions better and can grow with the animal," Williams said. "If the valve can grow with the patient, you don't need the repeated surgeries."

Tepha, founded six years ago, is a spinoff of Metabolix, a company the researchers founded in 1992 to market bioplastics and biopolymer packaging materials.

Other current and former MIT researchers who helped develop the recombinant DNA methods used to create the biopolymer are JoAnne Stubbe, Novartis Professor of Chemistry and professor of biology, former postdoctoral associate Oliver Peoples and the late Professor Emeritus Satoru Masamune.

Original work at MIT on this technique was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Elizabeth Thomson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mit.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New design improves performance of flexible wearable electronics
23.06.2017 | North Carolina State University

nachricht Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics
22.06.2017 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>