The new biomaterial could be used as urinary catheters and cartilage replacements, as well as for localised medicine applications
Spotted: A multi-disciplinary team from Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology have accidentally created a new biomaterial. Initially trying to produce a bone-replacement type of substance, the team found the alternative material to be excitingly adaptable. Through a nanostructure adjustment of the components that make up plexiglass, the researchers created a soft, flexible material that is naturally antibacterial.
The new biomaterial could be used as urinary catheters and cartilage replacements, as well as for localised medicine applications. Able to be used at a variety of temperatures, it can be 3D-printed as well as injected and will provide a range of applications for medical teams across a diversity of disciplines. The material can be treated with the same antimicrobial peptides the body’s immune system naturally produces, and with scientists facing continued growth in antibiotic resistance, a natural non-toxic material helps reduce the rate of infection after surgery, without the need for medicines.
The finding has been patented by a start-up company called Amferia, set up by several of the researchers involved in the project. The company already owns another of the university team’s products — an antibacterial wound patch. Producing flexible biomaterial for widespread use is now the business’ main goal.
Other innovations spotted by Springwise that use skin as inspiration are washable mesh sleeves that replace heavy plaster casts, and fake rhino horns which are so realistic that they pass infrared analysis.