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IISc’s Biomaterials & Tissue Eng Lab gets Rs. 50 lakh DST fund for developing bio-degradable polymer

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Friday, August 26, 2016, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Indian Institute of Science’s (IISc) department of materials engineering which houses the Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering Laboratory has developed a bio-degradable polymer infused with nano-particles which is getting ready for animal studies. The polymer embedded with graphene and metallic silver has proven to be non-toxic, eradicating bacterial growth and could be safe to be absorbed in the body.

The three and half years research initiative which concludes by the year-end, received Rs. 50 lakh grant from department of Science & Technology. The biocompatible scaffold with mechanical properties that duplicates a bone structure will be put before the IISc’s Ethics Committee for animal study clearance in a few months.

The development of the bio-degradable polymer was conducted by a team of four scientists: Dr Sachin Kumar, Shammy Raj, Shubham Jain and Dr. Kaushik Chatterjee.

In fact, this study is a part of a thesis in biomaterials & tissue engineering for Dr. Sachin Kumar who is the lead author of the presentation paper titled ‘Multifunctional biodegradable polymer nano-composite incorporating graphene-silver hybrid for biomedical applications’ published in the Materials & Design Journal 2016.

As per our research evaluation so far, the bio-degradable polymer has proven to have excellent cyto-compatible properties to hasten the process when substituted for bone graft, Dr. Chatterjee assistant professor, department of materials engineering and principal investigator of the programme told Pharmabiz.

Materials suitable for implant applications are in two categories. One is the conventional hip joint and dental implant made of metal and prone to inflammation. The other is an emerging concept where bio-degradable materials are proving to be viable and safer alternatives as cells are seen to re-generate over these materials to eventually regenerate the tissue, Dr. Chatterjee told Pharmabiz.

“We prepared a sheet using graphene and embedded with islands of silver. Now silver is an anti-bacterial and we came across multiple positive effects when the hybrid material was incorporated. The combination of graphene and silver demonstrated to be strong and safe to replace bone graft as it was not toxic to human cells, he added.

Most orthopaedic specialists opt for either autografts or allograft from cadaver and the success rate of these procedures are still a challenge. This led our scientists to look at viable substitutes for bone graft with biomaterials and tissue engineering which could heal bone fractures faster, explained Dr. Kaushik.

Globally, considerable interest is evinced in a new class of therapy using biomaterial and tissue engineering. Some of the research is in the proof of concept phase requiring both funding and regulatory consents for clinical trials. In India, biomaterials engineering is in its infancy. With regards to our polymer, we need to closely monitor the healthy tissue growth. However at lab-bench scale model, we see it as a boon for patients, said Dr. Kaushik.


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