Biomedical Engineering Blog

Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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New Material for Medical Implants - No More Clots

Posted January 23, 2017 4:09 PM by Chelsey H

A dangerous factor for patients with implants is the risk of blood clotting and infection. Now, there is a solution. Engineers from Colorado State have grown a “superhemophobic” titanium surface that is extremely repellent to blood.

Implants cause an increase risk of clots, obstruction, and can lead to heart attacks or embolism. Often patients need blood-thinning medications for the rest of their lives. These blood clots are caused because the cell’s interaction with the foreign material. Image credit

In the past, biomedical scientists have used “philic” (with affinity) to blood to make the devices biologically compatible with surrounding tissues. “Superhemophobic” means that the material will repel virtually any liquid. The innovative idea means that the surface is so repellent that blood is tricked into believing there is virtually no foreign material there at all.

The engineers started with sheets of titanium, commonly used for medical devices due to its biocompatibility and its ability to have a bioactive surface. The surface was then altered to act as a barrier between the titanium and blood. The teams conducted experiments showing very low levels of platelet adhesion, a biological process that leads to leads to blood clotting and rejection of a foreign material.

The researchers analyzed variations of titanium surfaces, including different textures and chemistries, and compared the extent of platelet adhesion and activation. They found that fluorinated nanotubes offered the best protection against clotting, but need to continue follow-up experiments.

More research and testing is needed but eventually this could be the new wave of medical device materials.

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