Bioactive implants that combine a medical device with one or more biologic therapeutic agents show promise for the targeted treatment of complex medical conditions.
Implantable medical devices, such as stents, grafts, and joint replacements, are crucial in the treatment of many chronic diseases, including coronary artery disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Yet most implanted devices have limited compatibility with surrounding tissues, and consequently suffer from limited device lifetimes due to adverse host responses and poor healing. Furthermore, traditional medical devices are not biologically active; the implants do not actively modify the surrounding biological environment, and do not respond to changes in the environment. For instance, a traditional knee-replacement implant does not reduce the inflammation in adjacent tissues.
Biologic-device combinations aim to address such limitations, and are the latest generation of implantable medical devices. Such bioactive devices consist of a mechanical or electromechanical device paired with one or more biologic therapeutic agents.
Sujata K. Bhatia, MD, PhD, PE is a physician, bioengineer, and professionally licensed chemical engineer who serves on the teaching faculty of biomedical engineering at Harvard University. She is the Assistant Director for Undergraduate Studies in Biomedical Engineering at Harvard; she is the academic advisor for all Harvard undergraduate students in bioengineering and biomedical engineering. She has also been appointed an Assistant Dean of the Harvard Summer School; in this capacity, she supervises the academic progress and well-being of several hundred undergraduates each summer, and...Read more
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