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For the last few decades, nanotechnology has immensely contributed, either directly or indirectly, to the advancement of medical science. Since early 1990, after discovering single-walled and multi-walled carbon nanotubes and amendment of the same in the polymer matrix as reinforcing filler, it has invoked much interest in the scientific community. Novation Solutions, LLC, a material science company, has announced the development of carbon nanotube-based silicon rubber that has a wide range of applications in medical science.
Novation Solutions, LLC (NovationSi) has developed PURmix high-consistency rubber (HCR), a novel healthcare compound, using a single-walled carbon nanotube developed by Zeon Corporation.
NovationSi is headquartered in Barberton, Ohio, US. It is a material science company specializing in producing superior-quality silicone dispersions, modifiers, additives, and colors for high consistency rubber (HCR) and liquid silicone rubber (LSR).
The company also manufactures custom silicone developments with advanced physical properties and improved processing.
Zeon Corporation is based in Japan and manufactures synthetic rubber, synthetic latex, and resins. The chemical manufacturing company also produces tires, automobile parts, and materials for electronic components.
Carbon Nanotubes for Medical Applications
Carbon nanotubes are cylindrical-shaped nanoparticles made up of graphite. They possess unique structural, mechanical, and high electrical and thermal conductivity properties owing to their nano-size.
The nanoparticles are successfully applied in medicine and pharmacy applications due to their high surface-to-volume ratio. They help develop various diagnostic agents, biosensors, vaccines, and drugs, while they can be used in gene therapy and tissue regeneration applications. Moreover, the antioxidant property of carbon nanotubes enhances their value for application in pharmaceuticals and medicine.
Importance and Application of Carbon Nanotube-based Silicon Rubber
Scientists across the globe have shown that low-weight carbon nanotubes can significantly improve biodegradable polymers' mechanical properties. These engineered polymer composites have wide-ranging applications in medical science. Scientists have revealed that carbon nanoparticles strengthen the rubber system. It enhances the interlocking of fillers significantly and also traps rubber at low loading, 5 phr.
Advanced neuroprostheses require a high density, mechanically flexible, and excellent electrophysiological performance. A formulation of natural rubber-multiwalled carbon nanotube nanocomposite is used in the development of the anthropomorphic prosthetic foot.
Researchers have found that the nano mix improved the properties of the nanocomposite. This compound has enhanced properties (tensile, stability, thermal, and electrical) and is eco-friendly. When compared to the commonly available prosthetic foot materials, this carbon nanotube-based rubber showed high wear resistance and a great capacity to scatter energy via segmental motion. The appeal of the material among users has also increased, owing to the improvement in aesthetic acceptability.
Characteristic Features and Application of NovationSi's Novel Silicone Technology
NovationSi has developed PURmix, a superior quality silicone dispersion with various applications in the health sector. The material increases the electrically conductive properties of silicon rubber with Zeon Corporation’s patent-pending technologies. The technology focuses on the development of a revolutionary single-walled carbon nanotube called SG101.
An important application of this novel silicone technology is creating a medical device that is utilized for neuromodulation therapies on the human body. The novel silicon compound's clinical use has already received approval from the FDA to treat essential tremors (ET).
ET is a neurological disease with a characteristic symptom of quivering or tremors, mostly in the hands or arms. A tremor is a rhythmic, involuntary movement of a body part. This can be visualized as an involuntary quivering of the affected region.
To date, the exact underlying cause of ET is not fully understood. In some instances, the disease may run in families. However, in other cases, the individual with ET may not have any previous family history of the disease. The novel silicon compound is already available in the medical device market to treat ET patients under the physician’s recommendation.
In 2019, Neuroepidemiology estimated that ET affects 4% of the population above the age of 40 years. However, the percentage increases to around 20% for people older than 65. The clinical trial associated with the therapeutic advances in applying the novel silicon technology indicated a positive result, i.e., a partial reduction in tremors in certain affected body parts was found.
The President of NovationSi, Bob Bradley, expressed his excitement over the successful application of silicone technology for the treatment of neuro-physical diseases. He has further stated that their company is making further technology advancements for many other improved applications in the healthcare sector.
Kohei Arakawa, President of Zeon Nanotechnology Co., Ltd, expressed his optimism for the technology and said that they planned to expand and extend their technology with other companies. This would lead to an increase in production and, in turn, benefit the patients in terms of availability. He further proclaimed that they are foreseeing a significant growth of the company by 2022.
References and Further Reading
SpecialChem (2021) NovationSi Develops CNT-based Rubber for Medical Devices. [Online] Available at: https://omnexus.specialchem.com/news/product-news/novationsi-cnt-rubber-electrical-properties-00022377
Tegtmeier, K. et al. (2016) Residual rubber shielded multi walled carbon nanotube electrodes for neural interfacing in active medical implants. Physics in Medicine. 1, 8-19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phmed.2016.04.001
Hua, H. et al. (2013). Carbon Nanotubes: Applications in Pharmacy and Medicine. BioMed Research International. 12. Article ID 578290. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/578290
NovationSi. [Online] Available at: https://novationsi.com/
Simon, J. et al. (2019) Overview of Carbon Nanotubes for Biomedical Applications. Materials (Basel). 12(4), 624. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12040624