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Aussie scientists develop new coating to improve implants

By Dental Tribune International
November 22, 2015

MELBOURNE, Australia: Prebiotic compounds, whose origin can be traced back billions of years, have been studied intensively since their discovery several years ago. Now, a team of researchers in Australia has found that these prehistoric molecules can be used to modify surfaces of medical implants, reducing the risk of infection and rejection.

The new coating method was developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in collaboration with microbiologists at Monash University.

Although surface modification methods span a wide variety of applications, ranging from solar cells to implantable medical devices, there are very few simple generic aqueous coating methods that are both robust and versatile, as well as easily applicable over a range of substrate materials, the researchers reported in their paper. Therefore, they examined the suitability of the aminomalononitrile polymerisation process for the formation of coatings on a range of substrate materials.

They found that this polymerisation, carried out in buffered aqueous solutions, can be used to coat a wide range of organic and inorganic substrate materials. The coating is biofriendly and cells readily grow on and colonise it and could therefore be applied to medical devices, such as dental implants, catheters and pacemakers to improve their performance and acceptance by the body, according to the researchers.

“The non-toxic coating is adhesive and will coat almost all material, making its potential biomedical applications really broad,” said lead research Dr Richard Evans. “This research opens the door to a host of new biomedical possibilities that are yet to be explored.”

As the coating process is very simple and uses methods and substances that are already available, biomedical manufacturers can produce improved results more cost effectively compared with existing techniques.

CSIRO is the first organisation to investigate practical applications of this kind using prebiotic chemistry. It is currently seeking to partner with manufacturers to exploit this technology.

The study, titled “Prebiotic-chemistry inspired polymer coatings for biomedical and material science applications”, was published online on 13 November in the NPG Asia Materials journal.

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