The results of the study were published in “Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy”, a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal.
According to MIET researchers, they were the first in the world to find a way to chemically bind carbon nanotubes to the molecules of the most common blood protein – albumin. The physical mechanism they discovered made it possible to develop a new method of using 3D laser printing to create nanocomposites.
“Under the laser irradiation, a strong covalent bond is formed between the albumin and carbon nanotubes, which allows for the printing of structures of a given shape. Living cells, such as connecting tissue or myocardium, can easily get accustomed to such scaffolds, which allows for the effective regeneration of damaged body tissues,” Head of the Laboratory of Biomedical Nanotechnology of the Institute of Biomedical Systems of the MIET National Research University of Electronic Technology, Alexander Gerasimenko said.
As the scientists clarified, they have created heart implants 3-4 times cheaper than ordinary Russian ones and 6-8 times cheaper than their foreign counterparts, exceeding both in a number of parameters. The technology is suitable not only for scaffolds used in tissue engineering but also for the production of biosensors, microfluidic systems and even advanced medications against cancer.
“We can print material with characteristics close to heart tissue: it can contract with the myocardium and has electrical conductivity by carrying the heart biocurrents. Our method also allows us to regulate the porosity of structures, ensuring the penetration of both living cells and capillaries and nerve endings,” Alexander Gerasimenko explained.
Before implantation, the printed scaffold is inhabited by live cells and “matures” for a while. As MIET National Research University specialists noted, several successful experiments have shown that stem cells capable of transforming into the cells of the tissue into which they were transplanted can also be used for this purpose.
The researchers are confident their method will effectively combat pathologies such as congenital heart disease and myocardial infarction, aneurysm, atherosclerosis and cardiosclerosis. According to them, a nanocomposite patch for myocardial infarction in 2-4 months completely regenerates the affected area, with the scaffold being dissolved.
The scientists noted that the technology has been developed in close cooperation with leading Russian scientific and technical centres. In the future, the team intends to move to the implementation of the method in clinical practice, as well as to adapt the technology to create coatings for various implantable systems.