Our bodies are fascinating machines; the way they can repair themselves after injury, or become immune after infection. However even the most advanced machines have flaws. Due to our bodies’ impressive ability to protect against diseases and foreign objects, the rise in biomaterial, and in particular implanted medical devices, surgeons and patients continue to risk complications. At the same time device manufacturers are continually faced with the challenge of reducing complications by creating safer devices.

Biomaterials play a significant and vital role in modern medicine and help with the restoration and healing of patients after a disease, injury, or chronic disorder. However, with the use of certain artificial biomaterials, our bodies react in the only way it knows how, to attack the foreign object. All implanted materials are recognised by a patient’s immune system as foreign, causing cellular and tissue immune responses. If the body responds negatively to the implant, it can lead to inflammation, slowing the healing process, and even failure of the implant. In most cases the body positively responds to an implant, leading to successful biointegration. Hence, the benefits of medical devices far outweigh the risks, allowing for their continued use in today’s medical practice.

The Opportunity

The medical device industry is always seeking to enhance the current devices and improving how the body will react to them. However with so many implants on the market, it is not feasible to redesign all the products to improve their longevity in the body. Fortunately for surgeons and medical practitioners, TekCyte has spent significant time researching exactly this issue to bridge the gap between already effective products, yet improve their likelihood to succeed within the body. For example, over the last several years, TekCyte’s team and its collaborators have developed a patented coating (BIOINVISIBLE™) enabling some devices to appear invisible to the body’s defences, potentially improving the safety and extending the life of implanted devices. The potential for a universal biocompatible coating that will improve all devices is vast, but as we gain a better understanding of how our body responds to foreign material, we are seeking more targeted approaches to making better performing and safer devices.

The Coatings

Device complications may vary for different devices and their location in the body, requiring unique ways to address the issues. There are multiple options one can take when choosing the right coating for a medical device or biomedical application.

TekCyte’s expertise is built around the understanding of and ability to manipulate material surface properties and their interaction with living cells and tissue. The list below provides examples of other advanced coatings with particular biological functions that can be designed and developed by TekCyte for specific purposes. These applications extend beyond implantable devices to include medical research and discovery, diagnostics and bioprocessing.

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Cell Growth

Our coatings can be designed to enhance cell growth on the surface of materials through the integration of cell-promoting biological molecules onto the surface of the product.

Cell Adhesion

Similar to cell attachment, coatings can be designed to manipulate the degree of adhesion a cell will exhibit toward the surface of a material. This is useful when transferring cells from a coated device to a location on the body, such as a wound or when the interaction of cells with a surface needs to be transient.

Cell Capture

Coatings can be created to allow for capturing targeted cells on a treated surface. Through utilising specific chemical groups for rapid conjugation of molecules, the coating can allow for chosen cells to stick to the surface.

Cell Repelling

It’s also possible to achieve the opposite effect to cell attachment/adhesion. Coatings, such as BIOINVISIBLE™, totally inhibit the adhesion of cells, and potentially proteins and/or microorganisms to the surface of a product, allowing for an easier removal of the product or to avoid detection by the body’s immune cells. Ultimately, making the product ‘invisible’ to the body.

Cell Attachment

Our coatings can be tailored to make certain cells attach to a surface that they would naturally not attach themselves to. For example, by encouraging the attachment of specific cells, research and discovery of new treatments for disease can be dramatically enhanced.

Cell Selective

Through the use of TekCyte’s BIOINVISIBLE™ coating, and with the addition of a targeted cell capture molecule (e.g., antibody, aptamer), we can create an invisible barrier with virtually no background binding of cells to the surface, apart from the cell of interest.

TekCyte’s team of biomedical researchers and materials engineers can work closely with device manufacturers and biomedical product suppliers to develop advanced coated devices and biomedical products, helping our partners to become leaders in their fields.