The researchers at University of Washington (UW) created a synthetic substance that fully resists the body’s natural attack response to foreign objects. This synthetic substance can be used as a coating over medical implants such as artificial heart valves, prostheses and breast implants to prevent the body from rejecting an implanted object.
“It has applications for so many different medical implants, because we literally put hundreds of devices into the body,” said Buddy Ratner, co-author and a UW professor of bioengineering and of chemical engineering. “We couldn’t achieve this level of excellence in healing before we had this synthetic hydrogel.”
The release from UW states "The body’s biological response to implanted devices – medical technologies that often cost millions to develop – has frustrated experts for years. After an implant, the body usually creates a protein wall around the medical device, cutting it off from the rest of the body. Scientists call this barrier a collagen capsule. Collagen is a protein that’s naturally found in our bodies, particularly in connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments."
The UW researchers plan to test this in humans, likely by working with manufacturers to coat an implantable device with the polymer, then measure its ability to ward off protein build-up.