Researchers develop biodegradable polymer which could aid patient recovery after major surgery
Researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed biodegradable polymer inks which could help patients recover from major surgery more quickly.
The inks can be used to 3D print personalised tissue scaffolds with mechanical properties that can be fine-tuned, to provide specific elasticities or degradation rates.
These tissue scaffolds have a wide range of potential uses including implants after lumpectomy – the removal of a portion or "lump" of breast tissue, usually in the treatment of a malignant tumour or breast cancer.
In this case, a tissue scaffold can provide a framework for the body to replace lost tissue, which should improve post-operative healing, as well as aesthetic appearance after the procedure.
The biodegradable nature of the inks also provides significant benefits over non-biodegradable materials. Unlike other materials, there is no potentially toxic residues associated with implantation. Furthermore, the resin has been designed in such a way that it will gradually degrade inside a patient's body, leaving nothing but natural tissue behind.
Professor Andrew Dove led the research alongside his business partner Dr Andrew Weems. Professor Dove commented: “We are continuing to develop our award winning materials technology but have also spent time really understanding the requirements of the implantable devices we will enable - how they should perform but also how they feel and what patients would like from them.”
Following successful initial testing of the implants, Dove and Weems are now focused working with University of Birmingham Enterprise to bring the technology to market, by spinning out their research into a company called 4D Biomaterials Ltd (formerly known as 4D Medicine Ltd).
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Chemistry World - Tissue scaffolds from resin inks