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Individuals working in regenerative medicine, cancer treatment, and cardiovascular treatments have great expectations for biodegradable implants. They release active ingredients on schedule, in the right place, at the right time, and in the right dose. Previous attempts failed because no technology is able to properly account for the influence of the aging of the implants in the body. In the project MAD Control, a multifunctional platform for hybrid implants with magnetic nanoparticles in dual function will be developed: Sensing effect in magnetic imaging and active drug release by magnetic excitation. For the platform, it combines special manufacturing methods with the comprehensive automated characterization of the implants, novel predictive models for their aging, and targeted model-based control of excitation for the first time. To prove the functionality of the platform, a device is being developed that combines the magnetic particle imaging method with a drug-release excitation capability. MAD Control thus promises new opportunities for the research and development of biodegradable implants and magnetic transport and release systems for active ingredients.
The project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) through a Starting Grant.
Tumors in hollow organs (e.g. bile ducts) are associated with a poor survival prognosis for patients, as the tumor usually cannot be removed surgically. Only a short-term opening of the hollow organ with a stent (tube-shaped prosthesis) is possible. Because the tumor grows back through the stent, the stent must be replaced in regular interventions. The innovative approach of the University Hospital and RWTH Aachen University ProNano 2.0 exploits the fact that, unlike healthy cells, tumor cells are irreversibly damaged at temperatures of 43 degrees Celsius and above. In the ProNano 2.0 project, the performance and effectiveness of a polymer stent is being investigated, which contains nanoparticles that can be used to heat the stent material to this temperature threshold in a controlled manner. As a result, tumor cells are specifically damaged and the stent has a "self-cleaning" effect in addition to its supportive function. The risky replacement of the stent is no longer necessary.
The project is to receive funding of 1.76 million euros from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research until 2026. It is planned to further develop and exploit the research results after project completion, possibly via licensing or the establishment of a spin-off company.
Biodegradable implants are expected to gain immense importance in therapy. They promise to combine the advantages of high mechanical stability (as for synthetic implants) and low adverse effect rates (as for biological implants).
In NaFiDe, a method for future in vivo determination of the relevant implant properties (especially its degradation state) is established by means of in vitro measurements. In these measurements, magnetic nanoparticles inside the implants will be used as sensors in the magnetic field of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device. This method targets at determining and monitoring the degradation state of implants via MRI, so detailed information can be non-invasively and reliably gained for future therapy planning.