Safe Transport of Implants
The biomedical laboratory unit of the Fraunhofer FEP is opening up new opportunities for evaluating the sterility and biofunctionalization of surfaces and medical products.
In Germany some 6,000 cornea transplant operations are performed annually. The demand for donor corneas is however about twice as high as the supply. Donor corneas can be stored for up to weeks prior to transplantation in special nutrient solutions. However, up to 25% of donor corneas are still lost during this process. The Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, in collaboration with the Eye Clinic of the Klinikum Chemnitz and TU Dresden, is developing methods to sterilize conventional contact lens containers and to design them such that donor corneas can be securely embedded. This will improve the conditions for transport to the clinics. Work is also been undertaken to optimize the solutions that are used for storing the donor corneas.
This is only one example of the tasks being worked on in the Fraunhofer FEP's biomedical laboratory unit which was founded at the end of last year. A wide range of medical products and equipment are being tested for their compatibility with the human body and adapted as appropriate. Scientists are pursuing new methods for disinfecting and sterilizing products using low-energy electrons, a key issue when using advanced medical products. Medical technology is in the meantime providing patients with advanced treatment methods, which put new requirements on materials and processes. Here the Fraunhofer FEP can call upon its expertise in developing coatings and modifying surfaces. The biomedical laboratory unit, which was funded by the European Fund for Regional Development, is operated under the close scientific supervision of Prof. Dr. Richard Funk, Director of the Institute for Anatomy of TU Dresden.