Four Publications in the Area of Transformative Medical Materials
Researchers from various disciplines at RWTH Aachen University have pooled their expertise in publications for the prestigious journal “Advanced Healthcare Materials”.
Prof. Laura De Laporte from the Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry and Prof. Fabian Kießling, head of the Institute of Experimental Molecular Imaging, have now presented the four publications of the 25 professors, eleven postdocs, and several doctoral candidates in a guest editorial. The researchers have authored four articles in the area of transformative medical materials, on the topics of in vitro human tissue models, in vivo regeneration, biontronics, and drug delivery systems.
The first topic, in vitro models, focuses on recreating human tissue and learning more about how it works. As a result, researchers are gaining new insights into the development and progression of diseases. Moreover, drugs can be developed in a more targeted manner. Following nature's lead, scientists are developing materials that are inspired by specific biological processes observed in human organ formation during infancy and tissue regeneration.
Further Information: Transformative Materials to Create 3D Functional Human Tissue Models In Vitro in a Reproducible Manner - Gerardo-Nava - 2023 - Advanced Healthcare Materials - Wiley Online Library
The second topic may best be illustrated by a thought experiment: Suppose you needed a heart valve replacement, what would you choose? A valve that would need to be replaced every few years, or one that adapts to the body, growing with it and changing according to its needs? This is the goal of the researchers, namely to create transformative biomedical implants (such as heart valves, vascular prostheses, spinal cord bridges, or retinas) with adaptive behavior. The materials contain programmed information that provides biochemical, mechanical, and structural signals to guide cells to form functional tissue in the body. What sounds like science fiction today could become reality in the future. The paper reviews the state of the art of the field, discusses challenges for in vivo implants worldwide, and highlights the progress made in Aachen.
Further information: Lifelike Transformative Materials for Biohybrid Implants: Inspired by Nature, Driven by Technology - Fernández-Colino - 2023 - Advanced Healthcare Materials - Wiley Online Library
Living neural networks are among the most powerful intelligent systems in the world, and their study holds enormous potential for the development of new computational approaches and treatments for neural disorders. In the third focus area, RWTH scientists are exploring cutting-edge technologies for the seamless integration of electronic conduction systems and sensors into living tissue, outlining a path to a new generation of intelligent neural interfaces. These interfaces are not only capable of recording neural activity, but also of interacting directly with neural networks to restore lost functions and improve information processing.
The fourth feature deals with systems for the administration of active agents (Drug Delivery Systems, DDS). These systems are designed to ensure that drugs are delivered in the right dose and at the right place in the human body. This allows drugs to exert their effects in a targeted manner without causing damage elsewhere in the body. In this paper, the researchers provide an overview of the biological barriers encountered by the systems during oral, intravenous, and local administration. Furthermore, they discuss approaches to overcoming these barriers with the help of novel materials.