Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protection for pacemakers

22.11.2019

ETH scientists have developed a special protective membrane made of cellulose that significantly reduces the build-up of fibrotic tissue around cardiac pacemaker implants, as reported in the current issue of the journal Biomaterials. Their development could greatly simplify surgical procedures for patients with cardiac pacemakers.

"Every pacemaker has to be replaced at some point. When this time comes, typically after about five years when the device's battery expires, the patient has to undergo surgery," explains Aldo Ferrari, Senior Scientist in ETH Professor Dimos Poulikakos's group and at Empa. "If too much fibrotic tissue has formed around the pacemaker, it complicates the procedure," he explains. In such cases, the surgeon has to cut into and remove this excess tissue. Not only does that prolong the operation, it also increases the risk of complications such as infection.


This is a cellulose membrane for protecting pacemakers.

Credit: Hylomorph

Microstructure reduces fibrotic tissue formation

To overcome this issue, Ferrari and his colleagues at ETH Zurich spent the last few years developing a membrane with a special surface structure that is less conducive to the growth of fibrotic tissue than the smooth metal surface of pacemakers. This membrane has now been patented and Ferrari is working with fellow researchers at the Wyss Zurich research center, the University of Zurich and the German Center of Cardiovascular Research in Berlin to make it market-ready for use in patients.

As part of this process, the research consortium has now tested the membrane on pigs. In each pig, the scientists implanted two pacemakers, one of which was enveloped in the cellulose membrane.

Following the one-year test period, the researchers can report positive results: the pigs' bodies tolerate the membrane and do not reject it. "This is an important finding because tolerance is a core requirement for implant materials," Ferrari says. Just as importantly, the membrane did what it was supposed to: the fibrotic tissue that formed around it was, on average, only a third as thick as the tissue that formed around the unencapsulated pacemakers.

Next step: Clinical trials

The scientists attribute this reduction in fibrotic tissue formation in the first stage to the material itself - cellulose is fibrous by nature. "When fibrotic tissue forms, the first stage is the deposition of proteins on the surface. A fibrous membrane surface impedes this process," explains Francesco Robotti, lead author of the study and a scientist in ETH Professor Poulikakos's group. Another factor is that the researchers created the membrane with honeycomb-like indentations in the surface, each measuring 10 micrometres in diameter. "These indentations make it difficult for the cells that form fibrotic tissue to adhere to the surface - the second stage in the formation processes," Robotti says.

Now that the material has proved successful in animal trials, the scientists plan to apply for approval for clinical trials in humans in partnership with the ETH spin-off Hylomorph, which will be responsible for commercialisation of the membrane. The trials are slated to start next year at three large cardiac centres in Germany.

###

This work was carried out as part of University Medicine Zurich's flagship Zurich Heart project and ETH+ project ETHeart.

Reference

Robotti F, Sterner I, Bottan S, Monné Rodríguez JM, Pellegrini G, Schmidt T, Falk V, Poulikakos D, Ferrari A, Starck C: Microengineered biosynthesized cellulose as anti-fibrotic in vivo protection for cardiac implantable electronic devices, Biomaterials 2019, 229: 119583, doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2019.119583

Media Contact

Francesco Robotti
robottif@ethz.ch
41-786-418-079

 @ETH_en

http://www.ethz.ch/index_EN 

Francesco Robotti | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The Anticipation of Events in Time
20.01.2020 | Max-Planck-Institut für empirische Ästhetik

nachricht Mutations in donors' stem cells may cause problems for cancer patients
17.01.2020 | Washington University School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

Im Focus: Miniature double glazing: Material developed which is heat-insulating and heat-conducting at the same time

Styrofoam or copper - both materials have very different properties with regard to their ability to conduct heat. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz and the University of Bayreuth have now jointly developed and characterized a novel, extremely thin and transparent material that has different thermal conduction properties depending on the direction. While it can conduct heat extremely well in one direction, it shows good thermal insulation in the other direction.

Thermal insulation and thermal conduction play a crucial role in our everyday lives - from computer processors, where it is important to dissipate heat as...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IAF establishes an application laboratory for quantum sensors

In order to advance the transfer of research developments from the field of quantum sensor technology into industrial applications, an application laboratory is being established at Fraunhofer IAF. This will enable interested companies and especially regional SMEs and start-ups to evaluate the innovation potential of quantum sensors for their specific requirements. Both the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are supporting the four-year project with one million euros each.

The application laboratory is being set up as part of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »QMag«, short for quantum magnetometry. In this project, researchers...

Im Focus: How Cells Assemble Their Skeleton

Researchers study the formation of microtubules

Microtubules, filamentous structures within the cell, are required for many important processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. A...

Im Focus: World Premiere in Zurich: Machine keeps human livers alive for one week outside of the body

Researchers from the University Hospital Zurich, ETH Zurich, Wyss Zurich and the University of Zurich have developed a machine that repairs injured human livers and keep them alive outside the body for one week. This breakthrough may increase the number of available organs for transplantation saving many lives of patients with severe liver diseases or cancer.

Until now, livers could be stored safely outside the body for only a few hours. With the novel perfusion technology, livers - and even injured livers - can now...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecules move faster on a rough terrain

20.01.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Spider-Man-style robotic graspers defy gravity

20.01.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Laser diode emits deep UV light

20.01.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>