A new study led by an Indian origin scientist has found that the unique properties of a new material can be used to create new devices that can be implanted into the human body - including blood glucose sensors for diabetics and artificial hemo-dialysis membranes that can scrub impurities from the blood.
The breakthrough by the researchers at North Carolina State University may pave the way for new dialysis devices and a host of other revolutionary medical implants.
Since a long time, scientists have been working towards developing medical devices that could be implanted into patients for a variety of purposes, such as monitoring glucose levels in diabetic patients.
But, existing materials present significant problems-devices need to be made of a material that prevents the body's proteins from building up on sensors and preventing them from working properly.
Also, any implanted device needs to avoid provoking an inflammatory response from the body that would result in the body's walling off the device or rejecting it completely.
In the new study, Dr. Roger Narayan, an associate professor in the joint biomedical engineering department of NC State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that nanoporous ceramic membranes may prove to be an answer to all the problems.
He said that the nanoporous membranes could be used to "create an interface between human tissues and medical devices that is free of protein buildup."
This is the first in-depth study of the biological and physical properties of the membranes.
The researchers indicated that the human body will not reject the nanoporous ceramic membrane.
Narayan added that this could be a major advance for the development of kidney dialysis membranes and other medical devices whose development has been stalled by poor compatibility with human tissues.
The study is published in a special issue of Biomedical Materials.