Purdue Research Foundation (West Lafayette, IN) researchers have created biocompatible and biodegradable nano-structured polymers for use as medical implants. U. S. Patent 7,622,129 details the polymeric materials and processes for making them with nano-sized topological features or textures. These features have dimensions in various ranges including, but not limited to, dimensions less than about 100 nanometers. In addition, the polymeric materials have a surface roughness of about 50 nm or greater. These polymeric materials are useful for making implants for soft tissues, such as bladder tissue replacement implants.
Examples of polymeric materials capable of exhibiting such nano topographical features or textures include materials comprising polymers such as polyglycolic acid (PGA), polylactic acid (PLA), poly(lactic acid-glycolic acid) (PLGA), poly(ether-urethane) (PU), polycaprolactone (PCL), poly(glycolide-caprolactone), and the like. Sub-micron sized or nano-sized surface features may be formed by chemical treatment processes, using acidic, basic, oxidizing, and reducing agents. Sub-micron sized or nano-sized surface features may also be formed using molding processes or a combination of molding and chemical treatment processes.
According to inventors Karen M. Haberstroh, Thomas J. Webster, Anil Thapa and Derick C. Miller methods of reconstructing soft tissues are needed for patients that suffer from disease states that implicate those tissues, or patients who have undergone surgery, including surgery to correct certain disease states.
For example, approximately 400 million people worldwide were reportedly affected by bladder disease by the end of 1999. One of the common forms of bladder cancer is urinary bladder cancer. This cancer is also a common malignancy of the genitourinary tract and a leading cause of cancer among American men. Many forms of bladder cancer are superficial. In the majority of these cases, a suitable treatment involves local resection of the cancerous portion of the bladder wall combined with adjuvant intravesical immuno-chemotherapy. However, in cases where this treatment regimen is unsuccessful, and in cases where the bladder cancer is not superficial, treatment often involves cystectomy of a portion of, or of the entire, bladder wall. This procedure is performed in order to stop the progression of the disease and to reduce mortality. Following such resection procedures, the bladder can be reconstructed with the help of implants composed of the biocompatible and biodegradable nano-structured polymers.