Graphene is preparing to be the “miracle” material of 21st century medicine

As a pioneer in the use of graphene, Dr. Victoria Tsai, co-founder of the now-defunct Graphene Frontiers and currently commercial manager at TELA Bio (Malvern, Pennsylvania, USA), stressed that the good performance of graphene allows it to be classified as a “miracle” material for 21st century medicine. Thanks to its excellent conductivity…

As a pioneer in the use of graphene, Dr. Victoria Tsaico-founder of the defunct Graphene Frontiers and currently commercial manager at BODIES Bio (Malvern, Pennsylvania, USA), highlighted that the good performance of graphene allow to qualify it as a material “miracle“for 21st century medicine.

Thanks to its excellent electrical conductivity and its 2D manufacturing with practically flat formats that are very easy to work with for use in the health industry. By passing gas through copper sheets at high temperatures to separate the graphite and arrive at a ductile hexagonal structure for the manufacture of chips y microtransistores.

In matters of biosensores, also according to Dr. Tsai, this material is shown to be optimal for the control of blood parameters or those related to diabetes, for example. Just as it can help to know the seriousness of the person who is transferred by ambulance to the hospital with suspicion of myocardial infarctionthrough a quick test made in cartridges for blood samples.

Along these lines, the technology center Andaltec develops a type of material with potential for tissue regeneration muscle from polymers derived from graphene and able to remember shapes (shape memory) by means of 3D printing.

Within the R&D project PoliM3Dstarted in 2019 and currently under development, biomedical applications based on FDM printing concentrate on the production of implants, prosthesis and custom items for surgery.

The research is based on the use of polymers that offer a defined geometry to be thermally molded to the body, according to the work carried out by the doctor’s team Manuel Melguizo on the Jaen University. After processes of functionalization with addition of chemically modified graphene to create a plastic matrix with good adherence and ease for cell growth in the host.

This is possible from a correct formulation of the polymer and the relevant tests in mechanical and physical-chemical tests carried out in house. Through experimentation validated by Dr. Amelia Aranegaprofessor at the same Andalusian university, when trying cell lines with myoblasts in the polymer itself.

Graphene comes into play by being additive in some samples and not in others, to check the differences. In those that did add this material, it was observed that both the expansion and the contraction of the cells occur without the need for external stimuli. Characteristic that, in the opinion of the researchers, points to its possible application to the generation of printed fabrics in 3D technology. From which they also deduce a clear potential in regenerative medicineas the doctor referred Antonio Penas Sanjuanresponsible for the department of R&D projects at Andaltec, and Maria Dolores Ramirezchemist in the materials area of ​​the research center.

Likewise, Andaltec’s specialized staff develops filaments for 3D printing and optimizes the addition procedure to build personalized implants and prostheses. This versatility could be suitable for manufacture these elements quickly and efficiently in the hospitals themselvesaccording to Dr. Peñas.

To this end, the technological research center has the capacity to manufacture at its own facilities in Martos (Jaén) and its more than 150 professionals, predominantly from engineers, doctors y other top graduates experts in materials, devices and prototypes. Where own resources and protocols are also available to be displaced and used in care centers as direct production to the dictation of the needs of medical teams.

The project PoliM3D responds to the model public private collaboration and is nourished by funds granted by the Andalusian System of Knowledge of the Ministry of Economy, Knowledge, Business and University of the Junta de Andalucía for entities qualified as agents of the institution. With positive biocompatibility results so far, for the purposes of growth and cell attachment.

Eva García Biosca

In the words of Repsol’s engineering consultant, Eva García Bioscaspeaking of polymers gives rise to also speak of polypropylene (PP)the most used polymer, with 19.2%, although it is not yet widely used in 3D printing.

Essentially it offers good functionality and mechanical behavior because it shows chemical stability, weight reduction of 20% compared to PLA o PETGimpact resistance, processing fluidity, adherence to the receiving bed, ease of sterilization and comprehensive recycling. In addition to a printing speed of 35 millimeters per second, at a printing range of 180-240 ºC.

Likewise, according to this expert, trends in polypropylene polymer printing point to translucent materials, non-flammablecon good adhesion to the base and adaptation to the prescribed requirements for each patient.

graphene-is-prepared-to-be-the-miracle-material-of-medicine-inToni Iborra

In this field, Dr. Toni Iborraan expert in materials, estimates that the printing of polypropylene in flakes or pelletsenjoy excellent possibilities for the 3D printing within the biomedical sectortissue engineering and drug design. Among other reasons, because it is available in different thicknesses, it is stable and the printing temperature can be lowered to 70ºC.

cover photo: Maria Dolores Ramirez and Antonio Peñas. Andaltec (Carlos)