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Blood-Repellent Materials Could be the Future of Medical Implants

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Highlights
  • Medical implants increase the risk of blood clots and infections leading to undesirable interaction between blood and the foreign object.
  • Researchers have designed a "superhemophobic" titanium surface that is extremely repellent to blood.
  • This surface significantly lowers platelet adhesion and activation and prevent rejection by the body and thus has potential applications for biocompatible medical devices.

Blood-Repellent Materials Could be the Future of Medical Implants

A specially grown, "superhemophobic" titanium surface that is extremely repellent to blood has been designed.

Medical implants like stents, catheters and tubing can cause problems for many patients as it often leads to undesirable interaction of blood with foreign materials.

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Over time this interaction can lead to the formation of clots, obstructions, and lead to heart attacks or embolisms. It also raises risk of infection.

Patients often need blood-thinning medications or anticoagulants for the rest of their lives, to prevent clotting. Excess use of blood-thinners and anticoagulants can raise the risk of stroke.
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The experiment on "superhemophobic" surface is a collaboration between the labs of Arun Kota, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering; and Ketul Popat, associate professor in the same departments.

The new material could form the basis for surgical implants with lower risk of rejection by the body.

The work by engineers from the Colorado State University is published in Advanced Healthcare Materials.

Superhemophobic Titanium Surface

Usually titanium is used for medical devices.

Using titanium, researchers grew chemically altered surfaces that act as perfect barriers between the titanium and blood.

Their teams conducted experiments showing very low levels of platelet adhesion.

Adhesion of platelets is the biological process that leads to blood clotting and ultimately the rejection of a foreign material.

Kota said "We are taking a material that blood hates to come in contact with, in order to make it compatible with blood."

The blood is tricked into believing there is virtually no foreign material there at all due to the highly repellent nature of the surface.

"The reason blood clots is because it finds cells in the blood to go to and attach," Popat said. "Normally, blood flows in vessels. If we can design materials where blood barely contacts the surface, there is virtually no chance of clotting, which is a coordinated set of events. Here, we're targeting the prevention of the first set of events."

Researchers compared the extent of platelet adhesion and activation after analyzing variations of titanium surfaces.

They found that fluorinated nanotubes offered the best protection against clotting.

The research team plans to conduct follow-up experiments to test real medical devices.

Reference

  1. Arun K. Kota et al. Hemocompatibility of Superhemophobic Titania Surfaces. Advanced Healthcare Materials ; (2016) DOI: 10.1002/adhm.201600717


Source: Medindia

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