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Scientists Invent Coating for Medical Devices to Deliver Drugs

Published on 2017-07-10. Author : SpecialChem

A team of Wisconsin scientists has devised a way to deliver drugs and other therapeutic agents by coating medical devices with a nanostructured mineral sheath that mimics bone.

New Way to Deliver Drugs & Other Therapeutic Agents

Surgical Suture
A surgical suture coated with a mineral that mimics bone.
The mineral sheath helps stablize therapeutic proteins like
growth factors, which can aid wound healing.

William Murphy, a University of Wisconsin–Madison professor of biomedical engineering who led a team that developed a new way to seed biomedical devices with proteins like growth factors said:

You can take bones or teeth that are centuries old and extract viable proteins,” explains Murphy, “The idea was, could we create a material that mimics bone’s ability to stabilize proteins?

Coating to Stabilize Proteins


Murphy and his colleagues describe a strategy to stabilize proteins by protecting them in a nanostructured bonelike mineral coating. The coating, applied to medical devices ranging from surgical thread to joint implants, stabilizes the proteins, which can then be released over time to promote healing.

But delivering proteins can be tricky as their biological activity depends on complex intramolecular folding and structures, they are subject to change and degradation, which can neutralize their therapeutic value.

Murphy says:

Many drugs are protein drugs that need to be delivered over a long period of time.” “Proteins tend to get denatured or destabilized, and that can be especially true for sensitive proteins like growth factors.

The discovery of active proteins locked inside bones and teeth that are hundreds of years old inspired Murphy and his team to try to devise bonelike coatings that could both stabilize sensitive proteins seeded into medical devices and permit their sustained delivery to a patient.

Mineral Coatings That Mimic Bone


Murphy’s team created mineral coatings that mimic bone. Applied to sutures coated with growth factors, the material was shown in an animal model to stabilize the proteins and promote wound healing by delivering growth factors to the site of the wound in a sustained manner.

The coatings are structured at the nanoscale to mirror bone structure. The Wisconsin scientist said that it’s important because proteins like growth factors bind within the structure of bones, keeping them intact and functional.

Murphy believes the new technology has inherent advantages over the polymers now used to coat medical devices and deliver drugs.

The technology, he adds, also has other potential applications in the area of biotechnology. It can be used, for example, to coat containers used for biological samples like blood and urine, maintaining the stability and activity — and thus, the integrity — of the proteins in the samples.

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Source: University of Wisconsin–Madison
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