Science 3 min read

Superhemophobic Titanium to Reduce Medical Implant Rejection Rates

Arun Kota, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, studies coatings in his lab in the Scott Bioengineering Building. July 2, 2014 |

Arun Kota, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, studies coatings in his lab in the Scott Bioengineering Building. July 2, 2014 |

Implanted cardiac valves, orthopedic prostheses, and pacemakers come with a risk of rejection. This can occur due to excessive blood coagulation and/or negative autoimmune response. A team of engineers from Colorado State University discovered a potential solution: hemophobic titanium.

Hemophobia (noun) from the Ancient Greek haimo (blood) and‎ phobia (abnormal fear.) Superhemophobic materials take this concept to the next level.

Engineers manufactured a superhemophobic titanium surface, which is highly repulsive to blood, reducing the risk of rejection by coagulation associated with surgical implants. This new material was made possible by the joint effort of two disciplines: biomedical engineering and materials science.

#CSU scientists used #hemophobic #titanium to eliminate implant rejection due to blood clotting.Click To Tweet

Arun Kota, an expert in liquid-repellent materials, in collaboration with Ketul Popat, an innovator in tissue engineering and bio-compatible materials, developed the blood-repellant titanium surface. The results of their work are published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.

Medical Implants Made of Superhemophobic Materials

Kota and Popat began with sheets of titanium and then grew chemically modified surfaces that function as a perfect divider between blood and titanium. Experiments elicited low concentrations of platelet adhesion, the biological process responsible for blood clots which lead to rejection.

Common logic and medical tradition call for the use of hemophilic materials to make them compatible with blood. But Kota and Popat’s innovation goes against the grain.

“What we are doing is the exact opposite,” said Arun Kota, “We are taking a material that blood hates to come in contact with, in order to make it compatible with blood.” Indeed, the team’s trick is to make titanium surface so repellent that blood doesn’t recognize the presence of the foreign material at all.

“The reason blood clots is because it finds cells in the blood to go to and attach,” Popat said. “Normally, blood flows in vessels. If we can design materials where blood barely contacts the surface, there is virtually no chance of clotting, which is a coordinated set of events. Here, we’re targeting the prevention of the first set of events.”

It’s not the Implant, it’s you

This advancement is great news for the piercing industry.

Yet, rejection due to clotting is only one of the possible causes. The risk of infection is still a major player in rejection of medical implants and piercings alike.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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