Medical implants mostly come with surface substrates that either release active substrates or some kind of biomolecules to stick with the surface these are implanted on. But degradable coatings for degradable implants have been lacking from the markets till date. A researcher from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology recently brought in a solution with a new polymer coating that degrades in the body as its carrier dies. Professor Joerg Lahann, the Co-Director of Institute of Functional Interface in the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) adds, “Out new degradable polymer films might be applied for functionalization and coating of surfaces in biosciences, medicine, or food packaging.”
He worked with an international team to produce these polymer films that have functional group “anchor sites” embedded in them that are to be used by biomolecules or fluorescent dyes. For the first time in history, the researchers have been able to present a specific Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) technique that can produce biodegradable polymers with great ease. With the help of special side groups, these active substances or the biomolecules will be able to get attached with the surface. The discovery also opens up gates for new potentials like the biodegradable implants. Polymerization through chemical vapor deposition is an easy and commonly used method that can improvise surfaces through irregular and complex carrier substrates that can then be coated with polymers in a homogenous manner.
Lahann explains that, “The degradation rate depends on the ratio of both monomer types and on the side groups of the monomers. Polar side groups make the polymer film less water-repellent and accelerate degradation, as water can enter more easily. In this way, the degradation rate can be adapted to application.” With the help of cell cultures, the research team has already been able to demonstrate that nor the polymer neither its degradation products are toxic to the host body.
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