Medical devices that come in contact with human tissue must be carefully designed to avoid the rejection of implants, for instance. One way of enhancing biocompatibility is application of specialised coatings. European researchers have been working on developing biologically-based coatings that encourage cell activity and colonisation of implants at the same time to impart medical device surfaces with novel bioactive properties. Supported by EU funding of the ‘Nanobiotechnology for the coating of medical devices’ (Pecticoat) project, scientists focused on pectins, a subclass of polysaccharides.
The Pecticoat project studied pectins called rhamnogalacturonans (RGs) and particularly RG-I. Pectins are complex sugars found in the cell walls of land plants. The researchers investigated the important potential of modifying plant RG-I such that it would stimulate cell colonisation of human implants without stimulating inflammation, immune and rejection responses. Careful analysis of mechanisms by which cell activity is induced in host tissue helped scientists design tailor-made pectin-based molecules to improve the biocompatibility of dental implants and other medical devices.
Cooperation with industrial small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should help bring Pecticoat coating technology to market quickly with important benefits for patients, manufacturers and healthcare systems.
Source: CordisYvonne Klöpping