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Developments in high-performance plastics, antimicrobial grades for medical applications

Developments in high-performance plastics, antimicrobial grades for medical applications

US hospitals look for innovative technology that can control the infections, a growing issue in the country. Bayer MaterialScience has offered a range of antimicrobial plastic grades for medical applications. The antimicrobial plastics can help manufacturers to prevent bacterial growth and enhance protection in medical devices. The materials are suitable for applications in IV access systems, surgical instruments and drug delivery devices. The company�s portfolios include one antimicrobial polycarbonate/acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (PC/ABS) grade, Bayblend PC/ABS AM 120 FR, and three antimicrobial polycarbonate grades: Makrolon AM1825, Makrolon AM2428 and Makrolon AM2520. Makrolon AM1825 is a high-viscosity, radiation-stabilized and lipid-resistant thermoplastic material that is suitable for transparent medical device applications. The radiation-stabilization technology of the grade decreases discoloration resulting from gamma or e-beam radiation. Makrolon AM2428 is a high-performance antimicrobial plastic and it includes an internal mold release agent. Another antimicrobial polycarbonate grade from Bayer�s portfolio, Makrolon AM2520, delivers a correct balance between processibility, impact resistance and mechanical strength. Similar to Makrolon AM1825 grade, this material is also radiation stabilized. Certain color formulations of all the three polycarbonate grades meet the specifications of USP Class VI and ISO 10993 for Part 1 �Biological Evaluation of Medical Devices.� Bayblend PC/ABS AM 120 FR blend provides an opaque finish and flame-retardant properties to medical equipment and devices. All the antimicrobial grades are primarily processed by injection molding and manufactured in pellet form.

Two companies are working together to develop a PEEK based product called CleanFUZE�, a new medical polymer that prevents infection and promotes bone and tissue integration. In a series of in vivo and in vitro clinical tests performed by third party institutions, the results showed CleanFUZE� eradicated 99.998% of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria and prevented biofilm adhesion. MRSA is a bacterium which is resistant to known antibiotic drugs. Biofilm formation occurs when free-floating microorganisms attach themselves to a surface. Biofilms protect the bacteria and are often more resistant to traditional antimicrobial treatments, making them a serious health risk. No biofilm can effectively be treated with antibiotics once it has formed on a medical implant. CleanFUZE� will be developed using Evonik's VESTAKEEP� PEEK (polyetheretherketone) together with DiFusion's silver zeolite based technology, that when custom formulated together create enhanced durability and contains specialized molecular matrices of silver and/or zinc cations to create anti-bacterial and osteoconductive properties. It is a new load-bearing medical polymer from which any orthopedic or dental implant can be engineered and the first bioactive polymer for human implantation. Hospital acquired infections (HAI's) are currently the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and increasing penalties for hospitals with high infection rates make new technologies such as CleanFUZE a solution for this growing problem.

A grade of high density polyethylene (HDPE) intended to meet the demands typically required of large containers used in healthcare applications has been developed by SABIC in close cooperation with Mauser. SABIC� HDPE PCG4906 specifications may be applicable for such products as jerry cans, open-head and tight-head drums, and Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs), as well as for blow moulded bottles. The relevant European and American pharmacopeia requirements are met. Furthermore, it has the physical and mechanical properties required by customers for the production of containers with volumes up to 1000 litres. The first drums produced in the new grade meet requirements based on UN recommendations covering transport of dangerous goods. Procedures involve stacking, drop tests at -18�C, and hydraulic internal pressure tests.

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