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US Navy

Navy develops bio-coatings for implants, dressings


Yeoman 2nd Class Warren Ewing and Sonar Technician (Surface) Seaman Kelly Souva, both assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85), respond to a simulated medical casualty during a general quarters drill at sea. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Declan Barnes)

Navy researchers are working to create nanofiber coatings for surgical implants and wound dressings that would help promote healing and also combat infection.

The work is being done by the Naval Medical research Unit, San Antonio, according to a report in the July issue of Naval Medical Research and Development News.

In one research area, the report states, scientists “plan to integrate [biocompatible] nanofibers into coatings for use on medical materials, such as titanium implants, to improve treatment for craniofacial injuries.”

Nanofibers bonded to the surface of implants could contain antibiotics to be released directly in the treatment area over a sustained time. Researchers believe this would reduce instances of postoperative bacterial infection and implant rejection resulting in further surgery.

The Navy’s researchers are also looking to create what it’s calling a “biomimetic wound dressing.”

Biocompatible nanofibers incorporated into a dressing would help spur tissue repair by mimicking a natural cell environment while releasing proteins to spur growth and of targeted cells and  helping to minimize formation of scar tissue, the report says.