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09-07-2016

New Types of Membrane to Fight Harmful Proteins

Scientists Develop Plastics for Dialysis

To produce membranes for dialysis, manufacturers apply high-performance plastics such as modified polyimides, polyether sulfones (PES) and polysulphones (PSF). These plastics have special features considering their structure and physical features, i.e. good optical properties, high resistance to thermal, chemical and mechanical impact as well as to extreme pH values. The production methods to modify these polymers have long included extremely toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

Toxic chemicals with a severe impact on the environment are often used to produce dialysis membranes (© 123RF.com/Wavebreak Media Ltd)

Toxic chemicals with a severe impact on the environment are often used to produce dialysis membranes (© 123RF.com/Wavebreak Media Ltd)

A research group headed by Prof. Dr. Roderich Süssmuth, head of the biochemistry department at TU University Berlin, has recently developed a cost-saving and environmentally-friendly method that has just been granted patent. The method represents the starting point to modify membrane surfaces and is based on the green chemistry concept which has little impact on the environment. This is because it uses renewable raw materials such as water, and requires no significant amounts of environmentally harmful solvents.

The MembraTech membrane technology project („Membrantechnologien – MembraTech“) is aimed at developing new types of membranes. The surfaces of these membranes undergo well-aimed structural modification, which enables them to remove harmful proteins, such as the C-reactive protein, from the body.

According to the German association of nephrology (“Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nephrologie”), approx. 70,000 people require dialysis treatment in Germany (© Fotolia.com/Manoj Singh)

According to the German association of nephrology (“Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nephrologie”), approx. 70,000 people require dialysis treatment in Germany (© Fotolia.com/Manoj Singh)

Respective investigations are carried out by the research group of Roderich Süssmuth, in co-operation with Pentracor GmbH in Hennigsdorf, Germany.
Pentracor will examine the new types of membrane as to their possible areas of application. The aim of the investigations is to use them later on at a large scale, in high-quality medical products for, e.g., dialysis.

In the framework of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), „MembraTech“ receives over EUR 1 million of support. Mainly working on finding new agents, the research group headed by Roderich Süssmuth has also been investigating in the areas of synthesis and the production of adsorbers and membranes for several years.

additional links

Here you can find out more about the project.

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