Bioactive Devices: Uniting Form with Function


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.


Author Bios: 

Sujata Bhatia, MD, P.E.

Sujata K. Bhatia, MD, PhD, P.E., is a physician, bioengineer, and professional chemical engineer. She is a teaching professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the Univ. of Delaware, as well as an affiliated faculty member in biomedical engineering. In addition, she is an associate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government for the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project. She works with students on projects for medical innovation in Africa, as well as global engineering education. She is also a faculty member in the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Program on...Read more

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