Nanobiotechnological approach to the production of biofunctional surfaces for medical products

GO-Bio 1 – Dr. Raquel Martin – Department of New Materials & Biosystems, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart

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Recipient: Department of New Materials & Biosystems, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
Funding: GO-Bio Phase I (01.01.2007 - 31.03.2011, 1.961.457 Euro)


Every cell carries a highly specific pattern of receptors on its surface, not unlike a fingerprint for each cell type. Information passes via these receptors to the inside of the cell, where it can then initiate specific processes. Contact with other cells or materials, however, can result in a broad range of reactions. This is crucial for the design of biochips as well as the production of medical products for use in the body. In the case of implants, for example, there is a risk of rejection by the body, as well as other undesirable reactions that can influence the functioning of the product.
Raquel Martin and her team at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems are pursuing a nanobiotechnological approach that is aimed at improving the management of this problem. Here, they are constructing special surfaces that build on advanced knowledge of chemical molecules and signals at the nanometre scale. From this, they have developed a technique for the generation of non-organic nanostructured surfaces that use biomolecules to communicate with cellular receptors, for example to switch specific processes on or off. The project funding will encompass the further development of the technology towards the production of biofunctional surfaces, as well as preparations for eventual application in a variety of medical contexts. Here, plans include the development of bioactive coatings for stents, which are used in patients with narrowed blood vessels.