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Polimat: Research areas | Polymers for health care and medicine

Polymers for health care and medicine

The research in this area is focused on the development of multifunctional materials for surgical use and speedy post-operative treatment of surface wounds, functional polymer surfaces with specific antithrombogenic properties for vascular implant production, biodegradable and biocompatible drug carriers and chromatographic macroporous polymer materials for purification of biological macromolecules, such as peptides, proteins, viruses and DNA.

Multilayered  medical materials

The final project objective is the development of a new generation of multilayered medical materials for effective treatment of surface wounds (burns, abrasions, reconstructive surgery).

For this purpose we will combine interdisciplinary knowledge in the area of the modification of polymer materials and their bioactivity characterization. CE PoliMaT will offer this knowledge as a package to the Slovenian industry which strives towards implementation of new technologies in their programmes leading to production of highly specialized polymer materials.

In order to develop biologically active multilayered materials capable of withstanding high temperature and mechanic stress, the research team selected a set of advanced techniques for surface modifications of polymer materials (individual layers), applied to functionalize polymers’ accessible surfaces without any alterations to the mechanical properties of the original material.

Key research and development activities

  • development of advanced procedures for polyethylene terephthalate (PET), silicone and cellulose activation to gain irreversible binding between individual layers,
  • development of chemical modification of cellulose using surface plasma polymerization to achieve antimicrobial properties; binding of additional ingredients if required
  • development of plasma processes for the achievement of super-hydrophilic properties of cellulose and possibility of moisture retention and transport, as well as containment of pathogenic microorganisms,
  • characterization of new multilayered materials; studies of synergistic effects; implementation of new measuring techniques for characterization of medical materials,
  • transfer of processes into the pilot phase for the development of new multilayered materials with specific reactivities and biological activities. These materials will be partially biologically degradable, with large specific area and therefore suitable for a number of modification processes related to the development of highly specialized products for sanitary and medical purposes.

Cardiovascular implants and drug carriers

Due to the frequency of cardiovascular conditions, the research in this field has become one of the priorities in the EU and the USA. Only within the member states, the treatment costs have reached an annual sum of 200 billion EUR.  The treatment often includes surgical procedures: implantation of artificial blood vessels made from polymer materials, or stents. Unfortunately, such implants often display a low level of hemocompatibility, which often leads to post-operative complications.

The aim of this project is improvement of biocompatibility of implants. Successful realization of the project goals will not only represent a breakthrough in public health but will also improve the position of our consortium in this extremely high value added market niche.

The objective of our research activities is to improve biocompatibility of implants. Successful realization of the objectives will substantially contribute to the improvement of public health and at the same time establish the position of Slovenian science and industry in this high value-added market niche.  

Key research and development activities:

  • development of the procedure to enhance antithrombogenic properties of artificial veins,
  • development of a method for deposition of uniform biocompatible coatings on the inner surface of artificial veins,
  • development of the procedure for enhancement of the properties of stents,
  • development of the procedure for synthesis of new PEG reagents .

Macroporous polymers with controlled morphology

Macroporous polymers in forms of monoliths, membranes and particles have gained an important position among polymer materials since contemporary effective separation techniques are becoming extremely important in the discovering, study and separation of new drugs in pharmaceutical, veterinary and medical sciences.

The majority of new drugs today are synthesized by various biotechnological processes with the crucial role of separation of the studied protein or another biomacromolecule from a complex mixture. They function as catalysts and reagent carriers in complex organic syntheses, such as chiral syntheses, etc., and are even more important in modern analytical and preparative HPLC chromatography as carriers of specific binding sites for various biomacromolecules, such as:

  • viruses (viral vectors),
  • DNA (plasmid DNA),
  • proteins (Immunoglobuline G and M and pegylated proteins),

and in biomedicine (tissue engineering and controlled drug release).
Today, the preparation of new drugs is almost impossible without effective separation techniques.

Key research and development activities:

  • preparation of macroporous monolithic cross-linked polymer carriers with methacrylate and styrene chemistry,
  • optimization and study of polymerization conditions to achieve controlled morphological properties of polymers,
  • chemical modification of polymer carriers for specific bindings,
  • characterization of morphological properties and identification of morphology influence on permeability, binding capacities and mechanical properties.
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