For the past decade, Judit Puskas, a professor of polymer science at the University of Akron, has worked to develop an innovative breast implant that is safer for patients.
Puskas said she was stunned by the 30 percent failure rate of conventional silicone gel implants due to ruptures, leakage and capsular contracture.
To deal with the problem, she developed a soft and transparent thermoplastic elastomer breast implant with an antimicrobial coating to prevent infection.
In February, the National Cancer Institute/U.S. National Institutes of Health awarded $231,725 to Puskas, who has partnered with Dr. Steven Schmidt of Summa Health System to further develop a biocompatible nanocomposite as an alternative to silicone rubber for breast prosthetics.
Puskas, the research team's principal investigator, is working with a proprietary polymer a new generation of the material used as the coating on the Taxus drug-eluting stent.
As a postdoctoral researcher, Puskas helped develop the first-generation polymer poly(styrene-b-isobutylene-b-styrene) block copolymer with Joseph Kennedy, UA distinguished professor of polymer science and chemistry.
In addition to the NCI funding, the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron awarded $100,000 to support Puskas' research. The project was one of eight included in the institute's first round of research and development grants totaling $680,000.
During the project's two-year period, Puskas and her team plan to synthesize the nanocomposite at a lab-batch scale; evaluate its thermal, physical and mechanical properties; and establish its in vitro biocompatibility.
The ultimate goal of this research and development effort is to create prototype breast implants and prostheses for [Food and Drug Administration] approval, Puskas said.
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