BIOACTION’s partner showcases research on implant-hydrogel coatings at renowned biomaterials conference.

Discover the cutting-edge research of Ferentis’ Airina Mazėtytė-Godienė and Vytautas Cėpla on implant-hydrogel interfaces for better patient care.

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In a quest to revolutionize the treatment of biofilm infections in implants, the European-funded project, BIOACTION, has set its sights on developing new bio-hydrogels that can transform bacteria into allies. To help understand the technical challenges faced by BIOACTION, one of the project’s partners, Ferentis has been actively addressing specific issues related to implant-hydrogel interfaces.

The biotechnology company has recently presented its work at the 2023 European Society for Biomaterials annual conference, one of the prime biomaterials events of the year. At the meeting, Airina Mazėtytė-Godienė, an early-career junior research scientist, and Vytautas Cėpla, a research and development scientist at Ferentis, presented a poster titled Extracellular matrix-mimetic peptide hydrogels for controlled cell adhesion and tissue formation.

The presentation addressed challenges related to implant surfaces, particularly the difficulty of attaching soft hydrogels to rigid materials like titanium or zirconium oxide. The strategies proposed in their poster hinted at potential solutions for the project’s future endeavors.

The challenges of hydrogel-implant interactions

“Hydrogels and implants have different chemistry and physical characteristics, resulting in limited interactions between them,” explained Vytautas. “It is essential to strengthen the interactions when they interface to avoid the hydrogels getting loose from the implant’s surface.” While acknowledging that the research of complex surface-coating interactions is still in its early stages, Vytautas expressed optimism about future discussions and experimentation.

We are taking small but essential steps towards understanding crucial details like types of surfaces, materials, and implants.

Airina noted the growing awareness of the importance of surfacing coating in the biomaterials community. “Not many groups are currently focusing on implant surface coatings, particularly with peptides and other organic materials, for example, hydrogels” she said, “However, we are seeing a growing interest and attention to this important topic at the conferences, which is nice!”

On being part of a consortium

Ferentis is part of a broader consortium of research institutes and universities working together under a Horizon Europe program to reach the goals of BIOACTION. Airina, as an early-career scientist, highlighted the value of networking and the potential doors these collaborations open for future endeavors. From a broader perspective, Vytautas found the collaborative environment intriguing. They stressed the importance of merging diverse scientific viewpoints to find innovative solutions for implant applications.

“We are thrilled to be part of this project, collaborate with other teams, and strive to create something useful,” said Airina. Vytautas echoed the sentiment: “Above all, the team wants to create a working solution for future use in healthcare settings that can help improve patient care.”

Airina’s and Vytautas’ thoughts unveiled the scientific intricacies, passion, and optimism that drive the Ferentis team to pursue groundbreaking innovations within the BIOACTION project.