Researchers demonstrated that foreign body rejection of implants such as pacemakers and cochlear implants can be reduced by adding an anti-inflammatory drug into the silicon coating around these implants
Electronic medical devices such as cochlear implants and pacemakers have become popular as these devices help save life of people. However, the immune system of the body can view these implants as unwanted foreign bodies and reject them. Now a group of researchers at University of Cambridge found that silicone coating with added new anti-inflammatory drug prevents the foreign body rejection of implants.
When objects are placed in human body through surgery, the immune system can activates inflammatory response as defense. This causes buildup of scar tissue around the objects to isolate the object from tissues in surrounding and this limits the functionality of these objects. To understand this mechanism better, the team implanted a small electric device in mice for their sciatic nerve. The team studies the surrounding tissues of this device, in control group of mice with no implant, the team analyzed the same tissue in the same area. The team found that a molecule NLRP3 played an important role in the inflammation process. Then the team developed a batch of implants with silicone incorporated with MCC950 and implanted them into another group of mice.
The team found that, with this silicone coated implant there was no inflammatory response this time and no scar tissues were formed around the implants. Currently used anti-inflammatory drugs for limiting the implant rejection also hinder the nerve regeneration. However the MCC950 did not obstruct the nerve regeneration process. According to the team, medications containing MCC950 could be used for coatings that prevents the foreign body rejection of implants and allow the surrounding tissue to heal.