Bioresorbable polymers: handle with care

Recent advances in bioresorbable materials for stent and drug-delivery applications and the unique processing, sterilization, and storage challenges raised by these materials will be a featured topic at a LearningLabs session on Feb. 12 during PLASTEC West in Anaheim, CA. PlasticsToday spoke with Kurt Breitenkamp, PhD, from Exponent Inc., who will chair the two-hour session and present a paper on tailoring polymer properties.

While bioresorbables were developed some time ago and Abbott's Absorb Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold is being used in many parts of the world (and is in clinical trials in the United States), there is still much to learn about these materials, their properties, and how they should be processed. That's where Breitenkamp comes in.

"The LearningLabs session will explore how the products behave in the field, how material properties affect degradation, and how we can predict these material and product behaviors, among other things" says Breitenkamp. "One of the things I really want to focus on, though, is testing. New testing methods are being developed by ASTM [American Society for Testing and Materials] in concert with FDA," he adds. Getting a product right the first time is, of course, crucial when developing an implantable medical device for a therapeutic purpose. Cost considerations are another factor: these materials can run into the tens of thousands of dollars per pound. All the more reason to carefully choreograph the processing, sterilization, and storage of these materials.

Read more