A novel in vitro encrustation model, representing a considerable advance on the established practice, was developed and used in the project to assess the calculogenicity of material sample surfaces and devices in contact with urine. A range of polymer classes and device manufacturing approaches have been examined. From this work, plasma coating with functionalised hyaluronic acid polymers has emerged as the system of choice for the fabrication of improved stents for urological applications. A novel ureteric stent has been designed, prototypes manufactured and a patent application filed. A consortium if forming and an exploitation plan is evolving on the basis of these successes.
Polymeric materials are widely used as implants in the treatment of human disease. Two major problems associated with urological implants are the development of encrustations and urinary tract infections. These frequently lead to costly extended or repeated hospitalisation. A further need in urology, as in other clinical areas, is for long-term indwelling devices. Here, the problems rising from such lack of biocompatibility are exacerbated. The principal aim of the proposed programme is to design, synthesise, develop and test a range of novel polymeric materials with enhanced biocompatibility, initially for urological use.
Further aims are:
i) to improve understanding, by systematic investigation, of struture-property relationships leading to the establishment of design criteria for polymeric materials used in a particular medical application;
ii) to provide, through the systematic assembly and interpretation of data, a basis for the development of standards.
Emphasis will be placed on an integrated and extensive characterisation regime, encompassing physical, mechanical and surface properties and biological testing in vitro and in vivo. The most promising materials will be used to fabricate prototype devices (tubing, catheters, stents) which, following further, similar characterisation will undergo clinical tests.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
35031 Abano Terme
EC1A 7BE London
W1P 7PN London