30.10.2017 change 06.11.2017

Scientists from Łódź are working on tracheal prosthesis made from bacterial cellulose

Medical background Medical background

Scientists from the Institute of Technical Biochemistry of Lodz University of Technology are working on a tracheal prosthesis made from bacterial cellulose. The specificity of this biomaterial can help the prosthesis be well accepted by the human body and take over the natural function of the trachea.

A few years ago, scientists from the bionanocellulose team led by Prof. Stanisław Bielecki of the Institute of Technical Biochemistry commercialised the technology of production of bionanocellulose and bacterial cellulose dressings for the treatment of difficult to heal wounds. It was sold to a Polish biotechnology company, which the only European manufacturer of bacterial cellulose (GMP system) for various applications.

Bacterial cellulose is a nanobiomaterial produced by non-pathogenic bacteria of the genus Komagataeibacterxylinus (known as Gluconacetobacte rxylinus). Bacterial cells in liquid medium, the main ingredient of which is glucose, metabolise it and converts it into sugar polymer, cellulose.

"From the chemical point of view, bacterial cellulose is the same as cellulose produced by plants. However, the fact that it is produced by bacterial cells means that the material has a high degree of purity, there is no lignin, hemicellulose or pectins that accompany cellulose of plant origin" - told PAP Dr. Przemysław Rytczak from the bionanocellulose team at Lodz University of Technology.

In addition, due to its unique nanostructure, high water absorption capacity, this material is characterized by high biocompatibility, which means that after implantation it is not rejected by the body. "Hence its application in regenerative medicine" - added Dr. Rytczak.

Scientists from Łódź are currently working on a trachea prosthesis made from bionanocellulose. Dr. Rytczak emphasised that currently available trachea prostheses are in most cases manufactured from plastic and therefore have specific limitations. They have low biocompatibility and, because of the lack of porous structure, they can not be penetrated by cells or blood vessels, which would allow them to be successfully accepted by the body of the patient.

Bacterial cellulose, which is a natural polysaccharide, offers this possibility. "It is a biocompatible material, and due to its unique nanostructure it should be overgrown by respiratory epithelium cells or capillary blood vessels, so after implantation this construct should survive in the patient\'s body" - he concluded.

Researchers have already developed tracheal prosthesis constructs, and endurance tests have shown that they have properties similar to the natural trachea. Currently, they are working on testing the prostheses\' ability to be overgrown by epithelial cells that naturally occur in the trachea.

"We would like this material to take over the function of the natural trachea after implantation. Ideally, it should be overgrown with epithelial cells from within and perform its natural function, that is, conduct air through the nasal cavity, throat, and into lungs, including the ability to filter impurities that had not been trapped in the upper respiratory tract" - he added.

Bionanocellulose team led by Prof. Stanisław Bielecki has a very high achievement in the field of bacterial cellulose. Researchers from Lodz University of Technology have read the genome of the bacterial strain that produces this biomaterial and obtained potential bionanocellulose products such as biocompatible meshes for hernia treatment. (PAP)

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