New polymer systems will be featured players in a bevy of new drug-eluting stents set to enter the market. The stents are placed in blood vessels close to the heart with the intent of releasing drugs that keep arteries open with patients who suffer from arteriosclerosis. It’s become a multi-billion dollar business with a couple of star players, and a spectacular technology display for high tech plastics. One of the exciting new entries features a bioresorbale polymer, first predicted by Design News. This is a plastic that disintegrates within six months, leaving just the cobalt chromium metal stent to prop open the artery. It comes in the Costar system from Conor Medical Systems. Conor was recently acquired by J&J. Abbott is developing a stent that is made of bioresobrale resin, specifically polylactic acid (PLA). It isn’t expected to hit the market for another five years. The new technologies in the stent business were reviewed yesterday at a cardiology meeting called CRT 2007 (Cardiovascular Revascularization Therapies) in Washington DC. My take: It will take a longer for new exciting technologies to make it to the operating table because of lingering questions about the effects of the original drug-eluting polymer stents. The questions focus more on the drugs than the polymers, but this one of the most exciting technology development areas for plastics on the planet.
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have published two physics-based models for the selective laser melting (SLM) metals additive manufacturing process, so engineers can understand how it works at the powder and scales, and develop better parts with less trial and error.
Materials and assembly methods on exhibit at next week's MD&M West and other co-located shows will include some materials you should see, as well as several new and improved processes. Here's a sampling of what you can expect.
The Food & Drug Administration has approved a 3D-printed, titanium, cranial/craniofacial patient-specific plate implant for use in the US. The implant is 3D printed using Arcam's electron beam melting (EBM) process.
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