J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(2), 328-344; doi:10.3390/jfb6020328 - published 27 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Shape memory alloys (SMAs) are a very promising class of metallic materials that display interesting nonlinear properties, such as pseudoelasticity (PE), shape memory effect (SME) and damping capacity, due to high mechanical hysteresis and internal friction. Our group has applied SMA in the field of neuromuscular rehabilitation, designing some new devices based on the mentioned SMA properties: in particular, a new type of orthosis for spastic limb repositioning, which allows residual voluntary movement of the impaired limb and has no predetermined final target position, but follows and supports muscular elongation in a dynamic and compliant way. Considering patients in the sub-acute phase after a neurological lesion, and possibly bedridden, the paper presents a mobiliser for the ankle joint, which is designed exploiting the SME to provide passive exercise to the paretic lower limb. Two different SMA-based applications in the field of neuroscience are then presented, a guide and a limb mobiliser specially designed to be compatible with diagnostic instrumentations that impose rigid constraints in terms of electromagnetic compatibility and noise distortion. Finally, the paper discusses possible uses of these materials in the treatment of movement disorders, such as dystonia or hyperkinesia, where their dynamic characteristics can be advantageous.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(2), 318-327; doi:10.3390/jfb6020318 - published 25 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Adverse reactions to metal-on-metal (MoM) prostheses are well known from total hip joint resurfacing arthroplasty with elevated serum chrome or cobalt, pain and pseudo tumor formation. It may, however, also be seen after total joint replacement of the trapeziometacarpal joint using MoM articulation, and we present two cases of failure of MoM prostheses due to elevated metal-serum levels in one case and pseudo tumor formation in another case. Furthermore, we suggest a diagnostic algorithm for joint pain after MoM trapeziometacarpal joint replacement based on published experiences from MoM hip prostheses and adverse reactions to metal.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(2), 299-317; doi:10.3390/jfb6020299 - published 20 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: NiTi (nickel-titanium) stents are nowadays commonly used for the percutaneous treatment of peripheral arterial disease. However, their effectiveness is still debated in the clinical field. In fact a peculiar cyclic biomechanical environment is created before and after stent implantation, with the risk of device fatigue failure. An accurate study of the device fatigue behavior is of primary importance to ensure a successful stenting procedure. Regulatory authorities recognize the possibility of performing computational analyses instead of experimental tests for the assessment of medical devices. However, confidence in numerical methods is only possible after verification and validation of the models used. For the case of NiTi stents, mechanical properties are strongly dependent on the device dimensions and the whole treatments undergone during manufacturing process. Hence, special attention should be paid to the accuracy of the description of the device geometry and the material properties implementation into the numerical code, as well as to the definition of the fatigue limit. In this paper, a path for setting up an effective numerical model for NiTi stent fatigue assessment is proposed and the results of its application in a specific case study are illustrated.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(2), 277-298; doi:10.3390/jfb6020277 - published 30 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Corneal diseases are the third leading cause of blindness globally. Topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, antibiotics and tissue transplantation are currently used to treat corneal pathological conditions. However, barrier properties of the ocular surface necessitate high concentration of the drugs applied in the eye repeatedly. This often results in poor efficacy and several side-effects. Nanoparticle-based molecular medicine seeks to overcome these limitations by enhancing the permeability and pharmacological properties of the drugs. The promise of nanomedicine approaches for treating corneal defects and restoring vision without side effects in preclinical animal studies has been demonstrated. Numerous polymeric, metallic and hybrid nanoparticles capable of transporting genes into desired corneal cells to intercept pathologic pathways and processes leading to blindness have been identified. This review provides an overview of corneal diseases, nanovector properties and their applications in drug-delivery and corneal disease management.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(2), 259-276; doi:10.3390/jfb6020259 - published 24 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Genetically engineered neural stem cell (NSC) transplants offer a key strategy to augment neural repair by releasing therapeutic biomolecules into injury sites. Genetic modification of NSCs is heavily reliant on viral vectors but cytotoxic effects have prompted development of non-viral alternatives, such as magnetic nanoparticle (MNPs). NSCs are propagated in laboratories as either 3-D suspension “neurospheres” or 2-D adherent “monolayers”. MNPs deployed with oscillating magnetic fields (“magnetofection technology”) mediate effective gene transfer to neurospheres but the efficacy of this approach for monolayers is unknown. It is important to address this issue as oscillating magnetic fields dramatically enhance MNP-based transfection in transplant cells (e.g., astrocytes and oligodendrocyte precursors) propagated as monolayers. We report for the first time that oscillating magnetic fields enhanced MNP-based transfection with reporter and functional (basic fibroblast growth factor; FGF2) genes in monolayer cultures yielding high transfection versus neurospheres. Transfected NSCs showed high viability and could re-form neurospheres, which is important as neurospheres yield higher post-transplantation viability versus monolayer cells. Our results demonstrate that the combination of oscillating magnetic fields and a monolayer format yields the highest efficacy for MNP-mediated gene transfer to NSCs, offering a viable non-viral alternative for genetic modification of this important neural cell transplant population.
J. Funct. Biomater.2015, 6(2), 241-258; doi:10.3390/jfb6020241 - published 21 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Cancer stem cells are speculated to have the capability of self-renewal and re-establishment of tumor heterogeneity, possibly involved in the potential relapse of cancer. CD44+CD24−/lowESA+ cells have been reported to possess tumorigenic properties, and these biomarkers are thought to be highly expressed in breast cancer stem cells. Cell behavior can be influenced by biomolecular and topographical cues in the natural microenvironment. We hypothesized that different cell populations in breast cancer tissue exhibit different adhesion characteristics on substrates with nanotopography. Adhesion characterizations were performed using human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC), breast cancer cell line MCF7 and primary invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) cells obtained from patients’ samples, on micro- and nano-patterned poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) films. Topography demonstrated a significant effect on cell adhesion, and the effect was cell type dependent. Cells showed elongation morphology on gratings. The CD44+CD24−/lowESA+ subpopulation in MCF7 and IDC cells showed preferential adhesion on 350-nm gratings. Flow cytometry analysis showed that 350-nm gratings captured a significantly higher percentage of CD44+CD24− in MCF7. A slightly higher percentage of CD44+CD24−/lowESA+ was captured on the 350-nm gratings, although no significant difference was observed in the CD44+CD24−ESA+ in IDC cells across patterns. Taken together, the study demonstrated that the cancer stem cell subpopulation could be enriched using different nanopatterns. The enriched population could subsequently aid in the isolation and characterization of cancer stem cells.