Mathematical model aims to reduce reactions to implanted devices

A computer model that better understands the body's reaction to medical implants, such as stents, catheters and artificial joints is ready for use, according to researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Researchers applied mathematical modeling, which previously had been used to decipher the complex system involved in wound healing, to improve the biocompatibility of medical devices and identify the timing and dosages of treatments for reactions. The work is published in the Journal of Immunological Methods.

The team studied reactions to foreign bodies, which can cause severe inflammation and scarring in surrounding tissues. These dangerous reactions also can reduce the effectiveness of the devices.

Microphages, cells that can rapidly change in response to signals from the body and its immune system, largely determine the severity of reaction. The researchers divided microphages into three types by function, then created a series of mathematical equations based on them and fibroblasts, or connective tissue.

"Foreign body reactions are very complex, involving many cells, proteins and other biological elements. The experimental measurement data are really scarce to capture the entire process. We overcome this difficulty by learning from what happens in wound healing, a similar biological process," Jianzhong Su, chairman and professor in the UT Arlington College of Science's mathematics department and co-leader of the project, said in an announcement.

Previously, a researcher from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign described "smart" sutures that monitor tissue temperature and deliver heat to aid healing if rising temperatures indicate the development of an infection.

And a collaboration among seven major hospitals successfully reduced surgical site infections by 32 percent over 2 ½ years through efforts such as maintaining optimum temperatures

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- here's the abstract

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