Bio DG (San Diego) has developed a metal alloy that provides high strength when first implanted and then gradually erodes in a predictable and biocompatible manner. Designed for implantable medical devices, the alloy is austenitic so that it will not react in a magnetic field. By dissolving from the exterior surfaces without compromising the internal structure, the material retains its strength in the undissolved portion of the implant throughout the degradation process.
The alloy has been engineered to address the limitations of current biodegradable materials such as polymers and nonbiodegradable materials such as stainless steel and titanium. It can be formed into any shape—such as screws, plates, sutures, and stents—using common forming techniques.
"These alloys have tremendous potential," remarks Bio DG COO Herbert R. Radisch, Jr. "Within the orthopedic space they can replace stainless steel and titanium alloy devices meant for temporary or semipermanent implants. Within the cardiovascular space they can be used to develop strong biodegradable stents that have the ability to degrade over a specific time period. And within the suturing/stapling space, they can be used to develop an implantable surgical staple that does not require a second surgical intervention for removal.” Devices made from this technology have the potential to improve long-term patient outcomes across a range of therapeutic areas,” he adds.
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