A team of engineers recently came up with a completely new material for surgical implants to bring down the risk of infections and blood clots which are common offenders for patients. These days medical implants like stents, tubing and catheters are formed with materials that have an affinity for blood for better biological compatibility. Nevertheless, with the help of a “superhemophobic” surface of titanium that is highly repellent to blood, the researchers hoped to make up surgical implants that are not visible or completely invisible inside the human body.
When blood platelets stick with medical implants, it normally leads to blood clotting and finally rejection of foreign materials. This new innovation mainly targets the adhesion which means manipulating the blood to believe that there isn’t any foreign substance present around it. The basic concept was to bring collaboration between the labs of Ketal Popat, an associate professor and Arun Kota, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering, both of these Colorado State University.
Kota is an expert in “superomniphobic” substances that repel all kind of liquid while Popat is an innovator with respect to bio-compatible and engineering materials. Both men together grew chemically modified surfaces that will act as a bridge between blood and titanium. These labs have assessed different kinds of titanium surfaces in order to compare the platelet adhesion extent and activation. The researchers noted that fluorinated nanotubes offer the best safety to clotting and now they look forward to carry out more experiments. Titanium is already one of the most commonly used elements in medical implants and equipment.
As Kota states, “We are taking a material that blood hates to come in contact with, in order to make it compatible with blood.” Popat likes to bring our attention to the fact that stents can lead to formation of obstructions and clots that can lead to embolisms and heart attacks. Thus, patients will require blood-thinning medicines for rest of their lives and such drugs are not fool-proofs.
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