test tubes with blood in rack

Project: Biomaterial-induced thromboinflammation – pathophysiological mechanisms in human whole blood upon contact with artificial materials

We aim to characterize the biological reactions that take place when blood faces a foreign biomaterial. These reactions are the cause of complications in, for example, dialysis and vascular implant treatment, and our goal is to increase the knowledge of these complications in the clinical application.

Project information

Project manager
Per H Nilsson
Other project members
Alexandra Gerogianni and Magnus Ståhle, Linnaeus University; Christina Johnson, QuangHuy Quach and Karin Ekholt, University of Oslo, Norway
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University; University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital, Norway
The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), the Research Council of Norway, Linnaeus University Centre for Biomaterials Chemistry
1 Sept 2018–31 Dec 2022
Biomedical Sciences (Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences)

More about the project

The replacement of an organ, tissue or function in the body with a natural or synthetic biomaterial improves the quality of life for a patient. A hip prosthesis, mechanical heart pump, dialysis filter or transplanted kidney are all examples of biomaterials.

A biomaterial is a foreign matter for the body and exposure to living tissue is rarely free from complications. Irrespective of whether the material is natural or synthetic, contact often causes inflammation, and in contact with blood, also the risk of thrombosis (harmful coagulation). Therefore, the biomaterial must be designed to be compatible with living tissue. This is often difficult to achieve in full and, depending on the type of biomaterial, the patient is usually given drugs to reduce the inflammatory and thrombotic property of blood. The purpose of this research project is to study reactions that occur in blood when in contact with biomaterials to better understand the inflammatory and thrombotic processes, and work to reduce the adverse reactions.

An application of particular interest here is complications due to the implantation of a mechanical heart pump. For patients with severe heart failure, i.e., when the heart cannot keep up blood circulation, treatment with a mechanical heart pump can be an option. This treatment can be either a temporary solution awaiting cardiac transplantation, but it is also used as a permanent treatment. This pump has helped many patients from a severe condition to an almost normal life. However, the implantation of a heart pump can cause complications. Above all, thrombosis has been reported but also increased bleeding risk. Inflammation is scarcely studied.

In a collaboration between Linnaeus University, University of Oslo, and Oslo University Hospital, we will study inflammation and coagulation activation in patients who received a heart pump implant. The purpose is to increase the basic knowledge of the complications, to be able to identify them at an early stage, and possibly to tailor drug treatment. We hope that this project will facilitate the design of biomaterials to improve the compatibility with living tissue, which will gain both patient and health care system.

The project is part of the research in the Host Response to Biomaterials Laboratory (HoRB) research group.