A study found that coating a brain implant can help it last long by minimizing tissue damages and inflammatory reactions of body.
A team of researchers from Korea Institute of Science and Technology and Yonsei University, Korea, worked together and created a new low friction coating for brain implants, known as Lubricated Immune -stealthy Probe Surface (LIPS). This finding was influenced by Harvard University’s SLIP technology (Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surface). This technology happened to lower the tissue damage during the implanting procedure and prevents body’s immune response for safety. Also, the duration of devices increased 4 times than that of existing devices.
LIPS is made from silicon base filled with perfluoropolyether lubricant. The original electrodes aren’t softened by the coating but it lets it slide into the brain without much of distortion or stress to the nearby brain tissue. In addition to that, LIPS being slippery, immune cells fail to adhere to it, which prevents the scar tissue generation. The team experimented the coating on rats. They applied the coating to neural probes that were created from 32 electrodes and then implanted into brain of rats. It was observed that over 90 % of the electrodes showed neural activity. It was double the amount noted for control group of rats that were implanted with uncoated probes, which also produce additional inflammation.
Furthermore, while the probes that were not coated detected signals from brain for just about a month before getting covered in scar tissues, the LIPS coated probes carried out their job for four months more. The newly developed coating can be used in human implantable devices for not just the brain but other body parts too and it can definitely extend the durability of these devices.