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Austrian Researchers Continue to Lead Medical Innovation with Nanotechnology

Sep 15, 2021

LogosSeptember 15, 2021 – (Innsbruck, Austria) – Researchers and engineers from Tirol, Austria, are investigating whether microscopic novel technology could help to enhance the performance of medical technologies used to treat a range of illnesses or disabilities around the world.

This cutting-edge research uses the latest innovations in nanotechnology to precisely apply particles that are undetectable by the human eye to the surface of medical technologies such as implants or medical devices.  Known as nanoparticles, researchers are testing whether their use could control the growth of human cells on medical technology.  Prof. Dr. Paul Scheier from the Institute for Ion Physics and Applied Physics at the University of Innsbruck, and lead for this research, explains why this could be important for patients in the future:
The body is a living organ, which is made up of a complex network of cells that continue to grow and adapt. When we precisely apply safe nanoparticles to medical surfaces, we could conceivably modify the interactions between those surfaces and the adhering cells. This could manifest in increased strength of the cell-surface connection or in accelerated adhesion times; ultimately benefiting the patients. This feasibility study is testing whether this approach will ultimately enhance the performance of medical technology.  
In the case of bone implants, such as teeth, hips or knees, an enhancement of the osseointegration is highly desirable whereas cell adhesion on cannulas or artificial lenses should be minimized. Furthermore, antibiotic properties of surfaces are important to prevent spreading of germs, particularly in the case of surfaces touched by many people, i.e, ATM machines, bus handles.
The FAENOMENAL project (Funktionale Einzigartige NanoOberflächen aus MetallNanoteilchen in Life-sciences), brings together scientific experts in the field of nanotechnology from the University of Innsbruck, and biotechnology at the Management Center Innsbruck (MCI), alongside industrial partners PhysTech Coating Technology GmbH, a company specializing in thin-film technology, MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geräte Gesellschaft m.b.H., a global hearing implant company, as well as spin-off of the University of Innsbruck and potential user of this research.
Project partners:
Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Ionenphysik und Angewandte Physik
PI: Univ.Prof.Mag.Dr. Paul Scheier
Management Center Innsbruck, Department Bio- und Lebensmitteltechnologie
Contact: Dr. Harald Schöbel
PhysTech Coating Technology GmbH
Contact: Dr. Georg Strauss
MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geräte Gesellschaft m.b.H.
Contact: DI Raimund Naschberger
This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the IWB funding stream that aims to support growth and employment in Austria.  For more information visit www.efre.gv.at.


About MED-EL

MED-EL Medical Electronics, a leader in implantable hearing solutions, is driven by a mission to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication. The Austrian-based, privately owned business was co-founded by industry pioneers Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair, whose ground-breaking research led to the development of the world’s first micro-electronic multi-channel cochlear implant (CI), which was successfully implanted in 1977 and was the basis for what is known as the modern CI today. This laid the foundation for the successful growth of the company in 1990, when they hired their first employees. To date, MED-EL has grown to more than 2,200 employees from around 75 nations and has 30 locations worldwide.
The company offers the widest range of implantable and non-implantable solutions to treat all types of hearing loss, enabling people in 124 countries enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a MED-EL device. MED-EL’s hearing solutions include cochlear and middle ear implant systems, a combined Electric Acoustic Stimulation hearing implant system, auditory brainstem implants as well as surgical and non-surgical bone conduction devices. 
More than 95% of the hearing implants are exported and used by more than 4.000 clinics around the world. www.medel.com 


Doz. DI Dr DDr med. h.c. Ingeborg Hochmair

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