Versatile coating for biomedical devices lets them interact with live cells

Apr 07, 2008

A new type of plastic coating made from vapor could lead to better biomedical devices such as stents and catheters that are "bioactive," meaning they can interact with the living cells around them in unique ways.

The coating binds to a broad range of materials including glass, stainless steel, Teflon and silicon. More like a paint than a blanket, it is able to preserve the precise shape of the device it covers. The outer surface of the coating can be made to attract or repel certain molecules such as platelets or proteins.

"These are fundamental advantages to our system when we compare it to other coatings already in use," said Joerg Lahann, the Dow Corning Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering. "We recognized that the biomedical devices have to be bioactive. You need to have biological signatures that can actively mitigate the response of the body to the implant.

"In order to do that, you need to be able to bring biomolecules onto a substrate surface and immobilize them in a stable way. Think of these biomolecules as little anchors. Depending on what you choose as your anchors, you can produce a certain response."

Stents that prop open arteries for heart patients don't always repel platelets very effectively, which could, in a worst case scenario, lead to a blood clot. Catheters—tubes that drain fluid from the body—are often used temporarily after surgery. Doctors don't want proteins to bind to the catheter or the tube, in a sense, starts to grow into the body. This new coating can help prevent proteins from binding to the catheter, Lahann said.

These applications call for the coating to be non-stick for proteins or cells. With different biomolecules dotted through the coating, it could act as a sensor, attracting certain molecules to bind to it.

The engineers create this coating basically by heating up its components in a furnace and then letting the vapors cool on the substrate, which is the material the biomedical device would be made of. These coating are often only tens of nanometers thick. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

Lahann will present this research at the American Chemical Society meeting on April 6. The presentation is called: "Spatially controlled engineering of biointerfaces via functionalized poly-p-xylylenes."

Lahann is also an assistant professor in the departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Macromolecular Science and Engineering.

Source: University of Michigan

Explore further: Mineral magic? Common mineral capable of making and breaking bonds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Better tissue healing with disappearing hydrogels

Jun 06, 2014

When stem cells are used to regenerate bone tissue, many wind up migrating away from the repair site, which disrupts the healing process. But a technique employed by a University of Rochester research team ...

NTU scientists invent superbug killers

May 10, 2012

The superbugs have met their match. Conceived at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), it comes in the form of a coating which has a magnetic-like feature that attracts bacteria and kills them without the need for antibiotics.

Tiny power generator runs on spit

Apr 03, 2014

Saliva-powered micro-sized microbial fuel cells can produce minute amounts of energy sufficient to run on-chip applications, according to an international team of engineers.

Tiny biomolecular tweezers studying force effect of cells

Apr 03, 2014

A new type of biomolecular tweezers could help researchers study how mechanical forces affect the biochemical activity of cells and proteins. The devices—too small to see without a microscope—use opposing ...

Recommended for you

Building the ideal rest stop for protons

14 hours ago

Where protons, or positive charges, decide to rest makes the difference between proceeding towards ammonia (NH3) production or not, according to scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and ...

Cagey material acts as alcohol factory

15 hours ago

Some chemical conversions are harder than others. Refining natural gas into an easy-to-transport, easy-to-store liquid alcohol has so far been a logistic and economic challenge. But now, a new material, designed ...

User comments : 0