Tech Transfer eNews Blog

UGA researchers develop foam that could prevent infections from medical implants

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 7th, 2023

Researchers at the University of Georgia (UGA) have developed a new foam material that could significantly reduce infections caused by implanted medical devices.

The porous, three-dimensional foam is water repellent, meaning it also resists blood, microbes and proteins.

“When you put any medical device into the body, proteins are the first thing to stick to a surface, and they act like a glue that allows blood or bacteria to adhere,” says Hitesh Handa, associate professor at UGA and co-inventor of the foam. “So, if we can stop the protein adsorption, half the battle is won.”

The material also exhibits high antimicrobial and oil-water separation properties. In a series of tests, the foam was able to absorb and remove organic pollutants such as chloroform and hydrochloric acid from water, while also killing bacteria in the water itself. At scale, the technology could be applied to cleaning oil spills or similar scenarios.

“The versatility is the key here,” says Mark Garren, a doctoral student in Handa’s lab and co-developer of the foam. “The multifunctional properties are what inspired this, then developing that and showcasing all of its abilities.”

The research team will initially focus on applying the foam to medical devices before moving on to animal trials and eventually human testing.

Source: UGA Research

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