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Hopkins and MIT researchers develop drug crystals to prevent medical device fibrosis

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology devised a new way to prevent fibrosis.
The method includes loading implantable devices with a crystallized immunosuppressant drug, which is slowly released into the patient's system, inhibiting the immune response in the area surrounding the device, according to a JHU article.

Implanted medical devices can put patients at the risk of fibrosis, a condition in which the immune system attacks the device and produces scar tissue around it, interfering with the device's functionality, according to the article.

Working with researchers at MIT, Joshua Doloff, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University and former MIT postdoc, devised a fibrosis prevention method.

“The drug crystal formulations allowed for tightly controlled, local, and long-term release to the point where we don't really see any drug in global serum or plasma levels beyond the first few days, eliminating the possibility of side effects in other tissues of the body,” Doloff said in the article. Doloff is a BMES member.
 
In a paper published in a recent issue of Nature Materials, the researchers showed that this coating could dramatically improve the performance of encapsulated islet cells, which they are developing as a possible treatment for patients with type 1 diabetes.

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