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28 Life

28 Life Sciences Report – Diagnostics

Life Sciences Report – Therapy & Devices 29 Medical Technology and Digital Health: Providing modern therapies and devices The medical technology and digital health sector is a strong pillar of the healthcare industry in the German capital region. Berlin-Brandenburg is home to more than 330 medical technology companies – including global market leaders, SMEs and startups. Over the last two years the Berlin and Brandenburg medical device community has been marked by technological trends, which we can also observe on a global level: biologisation, personalisation and digitisation. These trends will affect greatly how we provide and experience therapy and care in the future. Patient journeys will be optimised as we attain better medical care by reducing treatment errors. Innovative materials for medical devices and implants Beside the field of prosthetics and orthopedics, innovative materials are essential for the development of medical devices and therapies. Special materials and surfaces can reduce the sticking of germs, promote the growth of completely new cell cultures and can also be used for targeted drug delivery. For these reasons, material sciences play an important role in the Berlin-Brandenburg life sciences region. Infections in hospitals and antibiotic resistances are currently topics of high public interest. Infections can also occur during trauma procedures. So-called surgical site infections (SSI) are associated with the implementation of implants in the body and can lead to complications in patient care and thus to enormous costs for global health care systems. The innovative Berlin-based medical device company aap has developed an answer to this huge challenge in trauma which could be a real game-changer. The company coats trauma implants as plates and screws with an innovative antibacterial silver layer with infection-reducing properties. As there are no considerable resistances against silver, the technology could also protect against the particular problematic multiresistant germs, thereby delivering a solution without antibiotics. Furthermore, the application of aap’s silver coating technology is not only restricted to trauma: it can also be used in other areas of orthopaedics as well as in cardiology, dentistry or medical instruments. Treating severe heart failure using ventricular assist devices (VAD) is clinically very complex. Despite considerable progress in recent years, the treatment is still associated with complications. For example, thromboembolic events, in other words, the formation of blood clots leading to cerebral infarction, may occur as a result of a parallel implanted mechanical blood pump largely taking-over the pumping function of the natural heart. The company Berlin Heart from Berlin is breaking new ground in the possible minimisation or even prevention of this. A new type of surface coating for the blood-conveying components of the VAD is being researched in the project “GlycoVAD”. This coating is designed to prevent the activation of the patient’s coagulation system following contact of the blood with the foreign surface of the blood pump. The special coating masks the foreign surface so that this is not recognised as foreign by the blood and therefore, does not trigger an immune response. Established coatings, for example those based on heparin, are not able to do this. The coating technology, test specimens, the experimental equipment and testing procedures required for evaluation are being researched and developed under the direction of Berlin Heart GmbH in collaboration with the Institute for Chemistry and Biochemistry, Freie Universität Berlin, and the Biofluid Mechanics Laboratory, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The project is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Surface coating also influences whether cells can adhere, and whether an assay functions. The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP) in Potsdam Golm is a specialist in this field, and researches and develops new biosystems, colloidal structures and bio-hybrid materials. The core areas include biomaterials, hydrogels, and new products for the pharmaceutical, medical and cosmetic industries. At the same time, the Fraunhofer IAP offers solutions on both a laboratory and industrial scale. The surface coating is very significant in tissue engineering, as scaffolds form the initial structure for future heart, kidney and liver transplants. Prof. Georg N. Duda from Berlin- Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT) is concerned with the endogenous regeneration of muscles and bones. In vivo experiments provide knowledge of endogenous processes, which can subsequently be used

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