Scientists at Brunel University, in West London, may have found the key to preventing blockages that cause thrombosis and heart disease.
By coating flat sheets of collagen with a diamond like carbon (DLC) substance, researchers believe that they can prevent blood vessels from becoming clogged.
DLC coatings are currently used on catheters that commonly become clogged due to build-up of matter or encrustation. However, they have not previously been used as coatings inside blood vessels.
By coating sheets of PermacolTM – a collagen implant used for surgical reconstruction – with DLC, rolling them up into tubes and inserting them in the body, bypassing the clogged or blocked blood vessels, the researchers at Brunel University believe that future clogging will be prevented.
Almost one in eight people in the UK (12 per cent) have been diagnosed with a disease of the heart or circulatory system – and this figure does not include the millions who live with blocked arteries without even knowing it.
Brunel University’s research is critical to tackling the disease. The research is being conducted by Dr Ian Kill of Brunel University’s School of Health Sciences and Social Care, in collaboration with Professor Joe Franks of Brunel University’ School of Engineering Design.
According to Dr. Kill, “Natural and artificial biomaterials are now commonly used in medical applications in order to treat, augment, or replace a tissue, organ, or function of the body. DLC is tough as well as slippery so substances do not stick to it.
“It is also inert and does not generate an immune or inflammatory reaction within the body. It is therefore an ideal substance to be used for this purpose, “ he said.
Dr Kill added: “Brunel University has developed the protocols to coat a hydrated proteinaceous sheet with DLC. We know that we can generate coatings of varying and controlled thickness and that the coatings are stable inside the body.
“We are currently seeking additional funding to complete our research. We still need to ascertain more about how coated collagen will behave in the body, how other proteins and cells interact with the surface, whether cells can grow into the DLC layer and how to seal the join line when we form the tube.
“There is plenty of research to be done but the findings could potentially have a huge impact on tackling one of Britain’s major fatal diseases.”
Want to know more? Mention your interest in this area when you speak with a StudyLink Counsellor.