A team of biomedical researchers has created a new plasma technology that can be employed to connect hydrogel to polymeric materials, facilitating the interaction between medical devices and nearby tissues.
Hydrogel is a substance that is similar to the soft tissues that can be found in the human body. It is often used in the manufacturing of artificial implants, ranging from hips to spinal discs. In an ideal case, the implant has both bond and work well with the tissues and living cells that are located around it.
When the integration between the body and the implant is not good, the implant could fail or be rejected by the organism. Implant fails, and rejections are a major issue across all over the world since they can be a costly burden to healthcare systems, medical insurance companies, and patients.
Medical-grade hydrogels are designed to be as similar to the natural tissue as possible, but despite the best efforts, they are also infamous for how difficult it is to work with them. Most hydrogels have an unstable structure and cannot be used in applications that require attachment to solid parts of the body, like bone tissue engineering.
The new advancement developed by the team has allowed the researchers to combine several hydrogels with Teflon and polystyrene polymers. By using a customized plasma process, even complex surfaces can be activated to attach biomolecules and cells using covalent bonds.
It is worth noting that the plasma process is extremely efficient as it requires a single step, does not generate waste, and doesn’t rely on dangerous chemicals. A large array of biomedical devices will benefit from the new hydrogel technology, including the use of lab-on-a-chip arrays or biomimetic constructs.
Further research will take place in the future, and the current results are detailed in a paper which was published in a scientific journal.