Dr. Catalina Pineda Molina, a graduate of the CES University Biomedical Engineering program, current professor of the Biomedical Engineering undergraduate program and Innovation Coordinator at the CES Clinic, carried out research focused on a polymer (substance formed by several molecules) that is used in tissue reconstruction to treat hernias.
This study earned him his doctorate in Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh and was presented and recognized as one of the best works in the last Institutional Research and Innovation Conference 2020.
Poly-4-hydroxybutyrate, the material studied, is a kind of “mesh”Used to treat the muscle rupture that occurs with a hernia, replacing the mechanical effect of the affected muscle so that it can recover.
As explained by Dr. Pineda Molina, this type of materials that are implanted in the body can generate an immune system response that is adverse for the recovering patient and increase the risk of infections by microorganisms.
But in the particular case of this polymer, the scientific literature indicated that the body's response to this material was adequate and the incidence of contamination was lower compared to other polymers on the market. His study focused on studying why the body adapted better to poly-4-hydroxybutyrate.
“What we found is that when this material degrades, a monomer (the functional unit of the polymer) called 4-hydroxybutyrate is formed, which induces a response in cells for the secretion of antimicrobial peptides that, to explain it simply, are like antibiotics own of our organism and participate in the protection against bacteria”, Explained the researcher.
According to her, the generation of these peptides and other molecular markers found, makes the response of the immune system, instead of being hostile, it adapts correctly to the material foreign to the body.
The research, carried out between 2014 and 2018, would allow future studies to investigate the interactions of materials with the body's response so that the implantation process in the body of a patient is more beneficial and efficient, as it was found in In Dr. Pineda's research, some anti-inflammatory medications can nullify the correct activity of the polymer.