Polymer coatings test for cancer, prevent infections, detect bacterial contamination


  • Antibiotic-resistant bacteria that colonize surfaces and medical equipment are causing alarming annual rises in the number of patients becoming infected in hospitals and clinics. Developments in polymer coatings enhances device performance and prevents infections. Research has been successful in
    - developing polymer coatings for medical implants that help prevent growth of bacteria clusters and lead to infection;
    - developing a polyoxazoline polymer coating that can test for bladder cancer more simply and much cheaper than current invasive techniques;
    - working towards an antimicrobial coating with capabilities to detect bacterial contamination. Read more in Polymer coatings test for cancer, prevent infections, detect bacterial contamination
  • Medical polymers are chiefly used in the manufacture of medical implants, devices, disposable gloves, vials, tools; and packaging. Despite use over the past few decades, medical polymers have gained momentum over the last decade- attributed to the increase in research to develop alternatives to traditional materials. Development of engineering plastics also accelerated growth. Lower prices and improved and consistent supply of medical polymers when compared to alternatives has helped. To know more about the factors the market depends upon for growth, initiatives that have boosted growth, growing applications, preferred materials, growth regions and laggards, factors likely to enhance the industry growth in the next few years, read Substitution of traditional materials for medical devices and implants to propel global medical polymers market to 2022
  • Research teams all across the world are developing smarter and more effective wound coverings and dressings, bringing together advances in materials, sensors, tissue engineering, and microelectronics, such as:
    -wound dressing made of 100% chitosan that stops bleeding within minutes of being applied;
    -bandage that alerts a patient or clinician to problems with a wound by changing colour, and can automatically release antibiotics;
    -bandage which can detect how well a wound is healing and send a progress report to the doctor
    Read more in Smart bandages that stop blood loss in minutes, treat wounds, alert patient and doctor
  • Currently, though PVC is extensively utilized in the healthcare industry to create devices for storing IV solutions, blood/medicine containers, tubes and connectors, their environment friendliness is under the scanner. Strict regulations are being enforced to gradually replace these products with styrenics which is eco-friendly and plasticizer-free. Factors that will drive growth include a paradigm shift from metallic medical devices to polymer devices, increasing preference for smaller size devices, complex functionality, etc. However this sector faces several challenges. Read more in Need to substitute environmentally unfriendly plastics to drive global medical styrenic polymers market
  • An antibiotic-releasing polymer could simplify the treatment of prosthetic joint infection and could be used to treat infection in a single procedure, reducing both the inconvenience and the risk of complications for patients. The material contains antibiotic clusters which were irregularly shaped, making them able to release effective drug doses over extended periods of time without compromising the strength of the material. Another technology to combat multidrug-resistant bacteria has been developed by a research team - structurally nano engineered antimicrobial peptide polymers (SNAPPs); inspired by natural antimicrobial peptides. Read more in Antibiotic-releasing polymer eliminates prosthetic infection, antimicrobial peptide polymers destroy bacteria