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Home > Press > Liquorice offers clue to cleaner medical implants: A new coating utilizing nanotechnology will allow surgeons to sterilize medical devices that contain biological components

Abstract:
A nanotech material containing an extract from liquorice can be used to sterilize and protect medical devices and implants which include biological components, and protects these functional bio-components during the sterilization process.

Liquorice offers clue to cleaner medical implants: A new coating utilizing nanotechnology will allow surgeons to sterilize medical devices that contain biological components

Oxford, UK | Posted on October 9th, 2012

Publishing their findings in the latest issue of Materials Today, a team of researchers from Germany and Austria explain how conventional sterilization techniques based on a blast of radiation, or exposure to toxic gas can damage the functional biological components of the device. The coating, containing a component found in liquorice and developed by German biotech company LEUKOCARE AG, protects these sensitive components.

Joachim Koch of the Georg-Speyer Haus, Institute for Biomedical Research in Frankfurt am Main in Germany and colleagues explain how medical devices and implants are increasingly functionalized using pharmacologically active proteins, antibodies and other biomolecules. Harsh sterilization procedures, including beta and gamma irradiation or exposure to toxic ethylene oxide can damage these sensitive molecules and render the device useless. However, without sterilization the patient is at risk of infection when the device is used or implanted.

The team has now successfully evaluated the nano-coating; a technology which employs a composition of stabilizing nano-molecules. One important ingredient is a compound known as glycyrrhizic acid, a natural, sweet-tasting chemical found in liquorice. Unlike other stabilizing approaches used in biopharmaceutical formulations, the nano-coating contains no sugars, sugar-alcohol compounds or proteins that might otherwise interfere with the biological activity of the device.

The team has tested the nano-coating by coupling and stabilizing an anti-inflammatory antibody to a porous polyurethane surface. This carrier acts as a surrogate for a medical device. Such a system might be used as a therapeutic implant to reduce inflammation caused by an overactive immune system in severely ill patients. The researchers found that even if the test device is blasted with radiation to sterilize it entirely, neither the nano-coating nor the proteins are damaged by the radiation and the activity of the device is maintained.

"This nano-coating formulation can now be applied for the production of improved biofunctionalized medical devices such as bone implants, vascular stents, and wound dressings and will ease the application of biomedical combination products," Koch explains.

This article is "Nano-coating protects biofunctional materials" by Rupert Tscheliessnig, Martin Zornig, Eva M. Herzig, Katharina Luckerath, Jens Altrichter, Kristina Kemter, Adnana Paunel-Gorgulu, Tim Logters, Joachim Windolf, Silvia Pabisch, Jindrich Cinatl, Holger F. Rabenau, Alois Jungbauer, Peter Muller-Buschbaum, Martin Scholz, and Joachim Koch (DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(12)70166-9) .The article appears in Materials Today, Volume 15, Issue 9, Page 394 (2012) published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is freely available from here. Journalists wishing to interview the authors may contact Dr. Stewart Bland at +44 1865 84 3124 or

####

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier's online solutions include ScienceDirect, Scopus, Reaxys, ClinicalKey and Mosby's Nursing Suite, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite and MEDai's Pinpoint Review, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world-leading publisher and information provider, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

About Materials Today

Materials Today is the Gateway to Materials Science and home of the Open Access Journal of the same name. The journal publishes peer-refereed review and research articles that assess the latest findings and examine the future challenges, as well as comment and opinion pieces from leading scientists discussing issues at the forefront of materials science. Visit www.materialstoday.com for access. Beyond the journal, Materials Today also publishes news, interviews, educational webinars, jobs and events; and provides free access to a range of specially selected articles from Elsevier's materials science journals. For more information on all aspects of Materials Today, including the editorial calendar and advertising options, contact the editor, Dr. Stewart Bland at Follow @MaterialsToday on Twitter; and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/elsevier.materials.

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Contacts:
Stewart Bland

44-186-584-3124

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