Institute for Advanced Materials | News

Clot-building nanoparticles raise survival rate following blast trauma

A type of artificial platelet being developed to help natural blood platelets form clots faster offers promise for saving the lives of soldiers, as well as victims of car crashes and other severe trauma.

In preclinical tests led by a Case Western Reserve University researcher, the artificial platelets, called “hemostatic nanoparticles,” when injected after blast trauma dramatically increased survival rates and showed no signs of interfering with healing or causing other complications weeks afterward.

“The nanoparticles have a huge impact on survival—not just in the short term, but in the long term,” said Erin Lavik, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve. Other researchers had raised concerns that the foreign matter would interfere with healing, or form free-floating clots, but “we saw none of that.”

The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, show the survival rate of mice models of blast trauma treated with the nanoparticles increased to 95, compared to 60 percent for those untreated.

Also, no unwanted side effects, such as accumulation of the nanoparticles, clot formation or aberrant healing, were found during examinations one and three weeks after the injection.

Lavik worked with Margaret M. Lashof-Sullivan, Erin Shoffstall and Kristyn T. Atkins, of Case Western Reserve; Nickolas Keane and Cynthia Bir of Wayne State University and Pamela VandeVord of Virginia Tech.

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CWRU engineer to grow replacement tissue for torn rotator cuffs

A Case Western Reserve University engineer won a $1.7 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to grow replacement rotator cuffs and other large tendon groups to help heal injured soldiers and athletes, accident victims and an aging population that wants to remain active.

Ozan Akkus, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, already devised a technique to reconstitute collagen—a building block of tendons—into tough fibers and induce adult stem cells to grow into tendons on those fibers.

“This is a concept that works on a lab bench,” Akkus said. “We will refine the concept and test the validity on an animal model.”

“Following completion of that, we may be in position for clinical applications,” he continued.

Tendons are the sinew that tie muscle to bone, enabling us to push and pull, run and jump or, in the case of the rotator cuff, throw a ball or a mundane task such as reaching up to a shelf. But the cuff is susceptible to wear and damage.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that nearly 200,000 Americans require shoulder surgery to repair damaged rotator cuffs annually. The failure rate for repairs exceeds 20 percent, with the rate being highest for the largest tears.

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Cutting the cost of titanium: CSE team wins ARPA-E funding to explore new extraction method

A Case Western Reserve University proposal for a low-cost, energy-efficient method to extract the strategic metal titanium from ore has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for contract negotiations. This one-year project will be funded by ARPA-E at about $675K through the program on Modern Electro/Thermo-chemical Advances in Light-metal Systems.

With a high strength-to-weight ratio and unparalleled chemical stability, titanium is critically important for applications in aerospace, transportation and defense. However, the current process used to refine titanium from ore is extremely energy-intensive, making titanium expensive, thus limiting its widespread use.
“Our project, if successful, will lower the cost of titanium by up to 60 percent," said Rohan Akolkar, associate professor of chemical engineering and the principal investigator on the project.

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Researcher launches new effort to find why replacement hips and knees go bad

A Case Western Reserve University chemistry professor has begun imbedding magnetic nanoparticles in the toughest of plastics to understand why more than 40,000 Americans must replace their knee and hip replacements annually.

 

Anna C. Samia, an assistant professor who specializes in metallic nanostructures, has been awarded a five-year $600,000 National Science Foundation-CAREER grant to create new materials and equipment to test ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene used to make artificial joints. She and her team of researchers will also develop magnetic particle imaging techniques to monitor degradation and wear.

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Researchers Develop Material to Fix Scratches in Paint, Furniture through Light

Click here to view a video of how it works.

Your 6-year-old found a nail in the garage and drew pictures across the side of your new car. Gnash your teeth now, but researchers at Case Western Reserve University, led by Kent Hale Smith Professor Stuart J. Rowan, say the fix-up may be cheap and easy to do yourself in the not-too-distant future.

Together with partners in the USA and Switzerland, they have developed a polymer-based material that can heal itself when placed under ultraviolet light for less than a minute. Their findings are published in the April 21 issue of Nature.

The scientists envision that re-healable materials like theirs could be used in automotive paints, varnishes for floors and furniture, and many other applications. Read how the material works.


 

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