Surfaces of medical materials and devices that come into direct contact with human tissues need to be fine-tuned with regard to both physical and biological properties. A cross-disciplinary nanotechnology approach is proposed that aims to impart material surfaces with appropriate biological properties. This approach gathers competences from across Europe and includes a critical mass of resources necessary to accelerate the R&D process. The biomolecules that are to be grafted onto surfaces to functio n as nanocoatings have been selected from a class of complex polysaccharides, the pectic rhamnogalacturonans, that are known to possess anti-inflammatory properties as well as desirable physical properties. Sugar molecular structure will be altered in a controlled manner so as to favourably influence living cell behaviour around the coated materials. Current knowledge and expertise within our project team covers technologies to manufacture a range of tailored polysaccharides, to attach the molecules co valently to relevant biomaterials (e.g. titanium for dental implants) and to characterize the grafted surfaces and to assess their biocompatibility both in vitro and in vivo. We expect to generate evidence demonstrating both the antiinflammatory and mole cular flexibility of the innovative nanocoatings. This will open a platform for the development of a large range of applications that will be defined through industrial guidance and result in solutions for current bioincompatibility problems of various i mplantable devices. Industrial monitoring and engineering will allow the exploration of a wide range of applications (breast implants, meshes etc.). For one of these: the dental application, the involvement of industrial SMEs covers the full production c hain from raw material to prototype design which will lead in to a demonstration phase.
- FP6-NMP - Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices: thematic priority 3 under the 'Focusing and integrating community research' of the 'Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area' specific programme 2002-2006.
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