By Cameron Chai
An interdisciplinary team from Canada’s National Institute for Nanotechnology and the University of Alberta has developed a new chemical bonding procedure that can combine new operations to stainless steel and mold it as a useful substance for implanted biomedical devices.
The team has developed the new process to address the problems connected with the installation of stainless steel implants into the human body.
Implanted biomedical devices, including cardiac stents, are enclosed in more than 2 million people annually. The majority of the implants inserted into human bodies are made of stainless steel.
Stainless steel has both advantages as well as disadvantages. It is strong, durable and is able to retain the needed shape for a long period of time, and at the same time, it can cause severe problems such as an allergenic response and blood clotting.
The University of Alberta’s CIHR Team for Glyconanotechnology in Transplantation is planning to create new artificial nanomaterials that are able to change the immune response in the human body before transplanting an organ. In view of overcoming the multiple ranges of issues and requirements, the team has drawn on knowledge from three major areas. They are immunology and medicine, surface science chemistry and engineering, and carbohydrate chemistry.
In order to achieve the transplantation goals, complicated carbohydrate (sugar) molecules have to be connected with the stainless steel surface to achieve the required communication with the immune system of the human body. The innate stainless characteristic establishes stainless steel as a difficult substance to expand with the new operations. The team has discovered that by first covering the stainless steel surface with a thin layer of glass silica utilizing the Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) technique, prepared at the National Institute for Nanotechnology, they will be able to suppress the stainless steel’s inherent non-reactivity. After controlling the stainless steel, the team showed that the carbohydrate molecules wrapped the stainless steel in a highly organized manner and in the appropriate direction to communicate with the body’s immune system.