BoostLab4-5: Heart2.0 - Active interface system for artificial hearts


Project duration

January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024

Project partners

DWI – Leibniz Institute of Interactive Materials, AG Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg , AG Dr. César Rodriguez-Emmenegger

RWTH Aachen, WZL (Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering, Chair of Manufacturing Technology)

Project description

The goal in the Heart 2.0 project is to develop an active interface system for the interior of artificial hearts and cardiac assist devices, combining innovative concepts of molecular engineering, bio- and nanotechnology, surface engineering and fluid dynamics. An aging population and high incidence of heart disease are leading to an increasing number of people suffering from terminal heart failure. The shortage of donor hearts and insufficient supply leads to long waiting times with deteriorating quality of life and increasing life risk.

Local industry has developed artificial heart assist devices that completely replace the function of the natural heart and provide a therapeutic alternative to heart transplantation. However, blood contact with the titanium/polymer surface of the artificial heart and heart assist device remains a challenge and leads to undesirable thromboembolic complications.

Our goal is to develop an active interface system for artificial hearts and cardiac assist devices. This system not only reduces the activation of coagulation, but also actively influences the blood components and thus contributes to patient recovery. Antifouling polymer brushes are bound to the titanium/polymer surface of the artificial heart via the anchor peptides. The additional immobilization of corn trypsin inhibitor, CTI, and tissue-specific plasminogen activator, tPA, locally inhibits surface-induced clotting and activates fibrinolysis if a clot is formed. In addition, laser patterning is used to create biomimetic surface topographies that generate migrating eddy currents and thus high shear at the interface to detach clots. The two biological strategies play a role especially in the acute initial phase of implantation, while titanium structuring remains active for years.

Open positions

currently none