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Materials in Medicine - Latest issue of Materials World magazine

Materials World is the monthly publication of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3).

This month’s issue focuses on materials in medicine, and includes:

•A timely delivery – Roy Carter, Director of Celsum Technologies, and Mike Newton, Emeritus Professor, The School of Pharmacy, University of London, describe how technology developed for the production of solid gun and rocket propellants has been tailored to enable pharmaceutical pills to progressively release active ingredients. Computer modelling was used to predict tablet erosion in the human body.

•Light fantastic - Recent advances in organic semiconductors have led to a light-emitting sticking plaster that treats skin cancers. Professor Ifor Samuel from the Organic Semiconductor Centre at the University of St Andrews reports on photodynamic therapy (PDT) as an attractive alternative to surgery. In PDT, light and a pharmaceutical cream are used to treat non-melanoma skin cancers. Aminolaevulinic acid in the cream is metabolised to a porphyrin, which is a photosensitiser. When illuminated, a photochemical reaction occurs destroying the surrounding tissue.

Differences in metabolism between normal and tumour cells mean that there is a higher concentration of porphyrin in the tumour than in the surrounding healthy tissue.

•Cast away - Articulated materials can be used to support injured body parts. Mary Anne Cordeiro, Commercial Director of FlexNlock Ltd, explores a family of materials suitable for any application that requires customised moulding and setting. The material can stretch and conform around complex 3D shapes. Once in the desired position, energy, such as in the form of high intensity visible light, locks the structure into place. Developed by researchers in the UK at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, University College London and Brunel University, the material could provide treatment for patients with spinal disabilities, particularly those with scoliosis.

In addition, Materials World carries industry and conference news, as well as event listings. The mining features in August’s issue cover attempts to harmonise reporting standards. ‘In reserve’ focuses on the Pan European Resources Committee, a member of the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards. The second article, ‘Coded messages’ examines government perceptions of mining companies, looking at how mining codes have brought prosperity to African countries, and the limitations of earlier codes.

Zoe Chiverton | alfa
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