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Published on : Oct 14, 2014

A team of engineers and scientists the Wyss Institute, Harvard have developed a new method of combating blood clots caused by implantable medical devices. Till now, doctors have been using blood thinners to solve the problem. However, blood thinners have been known to have numerous side effects such as nosebleeds, prolonged bleeding from a wound, and bleeding gums.The team at Harvard has developed a surface coating that will be used on medical devices. This coating will have the ability to repel blood from more than 20 medical surfaces. The idea of a surface coating was inspired Joanna Aizenberg’s SLIPS technology. The SLIPS, or Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces, technology was initially used to keep ice off airplane wings or even prevent oil from clinging to pipelines. However the team has used the same concept to apply to the medical field. 

Dr. Don Ingber, senior author of the medical study and founding director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, said that blood clotting was one of the most critical and persistent problem while dealing with implanted medical devices and this long-standing condition had to be resolved.

The surface coating for medical devices has been developed by chemically attaching a perfluorocarbon monolayer and a layer of liquid perfluorocarbon. Liquid perfluorocarbon is usually used by physicians in applications such as eye surgery, as a blood substitution, and in liquid ventilation for infants. The combination of these two layers has been termed by the team of scientists and engineers as Tethered-Liquid Perfluorocarbon surface or TLP. Tests have found that this layer is effective in repelling blood and also avoids the formation of biofilm.