Researchers from the University of Louisville / Jewish Hospital Cardiovascular Innovation Institute have developed a microvascular construct that can prolong the life of implanted devices.
Implanted devices such as glucose sensors, chemotherapy ports and pacemakers can cause scarring if the body recognises them as foreign materials, which can lead to loss of device function and the deterioration of a patient’s health.
The microvascular construct, made of tiny blood-vessel fragments suspended in collagen gel, was used to pre-vascularise implants before implantation in animal models.
Researchers found that the construct improved blood circulation and resisted scar tissue formation better when compared with bare expanded polytetrafluoroethylene, a biomaterial currently used with devices.
Collagen is naturally occurring protein found in animal and human tissue. It mediates the inflammatory response that occurs when an implant interacts with surrounding tissue, according to the researchers.
Stuart Williams, senior investigator in the study, said that the presence of the microvascular contructs and collagen altered the way tissue formed around the implants, restricting the formation of scar tissue because there was so much blood vessel activity.
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The researchers are now planning to design an operating room-compatible device that could bring this technology to patients.