Prehistoric 'sludge' could help implants surgery, Australian scientists say

Updated: 2015-11-17 07:56

By Xinhua in Canberra(China Daily)

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Australia scientists have found that a "primordial goo", formed billions of years ago and thought to have been the basis for life on earth, could assist the human body in accepting surgical implants.

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization outlined its findings in the nature journal Asia Materials on Monday.

The organization said the ancient molecules from this sludge, known as prebiotic compounds, can be used as a protective coating for surgical implants, such as bone replacements, catheters and pacemakers.

The goo, discovered decades ago, has been traced back billions of years and scientists believe it has undeniable links to the evolution of life on earth.

The paper's lead researcher, Richard Evans, said the process of implanting artificial body parts is complex and this new bio-friendly, nontoxic "coating" allows the body to more readily accept an implant.

"Reducing the likelihood of infection and ensuring the body doesn't reject implants are ongoing medical challenges," Evans said on Monday.

"That's why coatings on these implants are needed to help them to do their job," he said.

"We wanted to use these prehistoric molecules, which are believed to have been the source of all life evolving on Earth, to see if we could apply the chemistry in a practical way," he added.

Evans' team discovered that the coating was bio-friendly and it could be applied to medical devices to improve their performance and acceptance by the body.

The Australian organization said the biomedical coating can be produced with readily available substances and at a lower cost than other compounds and methods used to "reduce friction, make (implants) more durable and resistant to wear."

"This research opens the door to a host of new biomedical possibilities that are still to be explored," Evans said.

Mass production of the coating is not too far away, with the organization seeking to partner with a biomedical manufacturer to exploit this technology, he added.

(China Daily 11/17/2015 page12)