Extruded, hollow tube could help soldiers wounded on battlefield

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: May 21, 2014 4:03 pm ET
Updated: May 21, 2014 4:07 pm ET

Image By: Janet Century Matthew Becker, left, said researchers are developing ways to use plastics in emergency situations on the battlefield.

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, Government/defense, Medical, Extrusion, Plastics in Medical Devices

CLEVELAND — Researchers in Akron, Ohio, are developing an extruded tube that one day could help repair the legs of soldiers injured by roadside bombs, University of Akron professor Matthew Becker said at the Plastics in Medical Devices conference.

The hollow, degradable device, designed for healing a femur bone, is made of amino acid-based poly(ester urea).

“It looks basically like a toilet paper roll,” Becker said.

Becker leads the biomaterials efforts of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, which fosters innovation and collaboration at UA and Akron-area hospitals. He was one of three Austen BioInnovation officials to talk about future biomaterials for medical use, such as spinal disc replacements and artificial ligaments.

The tube has been tested on the broken femurs of sheep. Becker said the military wants this technology because too often, doctors are forced to amputate soldiers badly hurt by improvised explosive devices. The degradable scaffold tube is extruded in about 18-inch sections. He said the University of Akron is one of only three universities in the United States that have an extruder to make it.

Bone eventually grows around the tube.

IEDs can cause devastating injuries — burns and vascular damage, and often the wound is filled with dirt. Becker said military doctors ideally want to do only a single surgery, because often, there is not much soft tissue left.

Polymers play a major role in biomedical products, Becker said. He encouraged attendees to ignore the naysayers and keep trying.

“The hardest part of doing something like this is getting over the fact that one, it hasn’t been done before. Two, a lot of people think you’re crazy. The third thing is, it’s not what the normal field would expect you to do,” he said.

Stephen Fening, director of orthopedic devices at the Austen BioInnovation Institute’s Medical Device Development Center, said it’s a challenge to develop biomaterials, which are intended to interface with a biological system, or replace or augment tissue. The body tends to reject “foreign” objects. And human tissues have the ability heal; biomaterials do not, he said.

Fening said three areas of promise are replacement and repair products, devices for controlled-release delivery of medicine and bio-sensing and automation devices.

Fening also is director of research and innovation at the Hoyt Musculoskeletal Research Laboratory at Akron’s Summa Health System. Before, he directed the Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Sports Health Research.

Rob Ngungu, director of regulatory affairs at Austen BioInnovation Institute, gave a 101-style talk on dealing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He advised conference attendees to think about FDA issues early in the development process, especially when selecting materials.

“It’s never too early,” he said. “It’s always a good idea to start exploring, what are the regulatory implications of getting into any of these spaces.”

Look at the clinical history and regulatory issues of similar devices and materials, Ngungu said. Try and see if FDA has a comfort level with that type of material, or has expressed concerns. “Novel, unproven materials” that may require a unique development process — and can raise potential questions about safety and risk — makes it much harder to meet FDA approval, he said.

He said companies should take advantage of FDA’s pre-submission process and meet with them. Think in advance about what questions that the agency will have, and bring along the full, appropriate data. Learn about how you will store the materials and how to characterize the material.


Comments

Extruded, hollow tube could help soldiers wounded on battlefield

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: May 21, 2014 4:03 pm ET
Updated: May 21, 2014 4:07 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Gerresheimer opens first development center in China

October 24, 2014 1:34 pm ET

Medical molder Gerresheimer AG has launched a development center for medical plastic systems in Dongguan, China.    More

Image

German export sales strong, push for energy savings continues

October 24, 2014 12:34 pm ET

Germany is the engine that drives the European economy — and when it comes to the plastics industry, German machinery is a potent force, an...    More

OSHA investigation launched following blast at NJ reticulated foam plant

October 24, 2014 9:00 am ET

Four workers were concussed and sustained minor injuries during an explosion at the Inoac Crest Foam plant in Moonachie, N.J., earlier this month.    More

Image

FTC warns bag makers to take care before making biodegradeability claims

October 23, 2014 12:30 pm ET

Makers of oxodegradable or oxo-biodegradable plastic bags should consider themselves on notice, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.    More

Image

Geist Plastics changes name to Lincoln Plastics

October 23, 2014 12:31 pm ET

Custom profile extruder Geist Plastics Inc. is changing its name to Lincoln Plastics, the company announced Oct. 23.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events