The number of applications of synthetic biomaterials continues to expand. However, the imaging of injected biomaterials is important to control the treatment procedure in real time, to avoid complications, and to assess therapeutic success. Embolization is the obstruction of the blood flow in a vessel that can be an effective treatment for tumors in hepatocellular carcinoma or for uterine fibroids. By combining this embolization therapy with a localized drug delivery, the treatment can even be more effective. The material that is currently used is not radiopaque and can therefore cause difficulties for the interventional radiologist during placement of the embolic. Therefore, hollow, drug-carrying microspheres were made radiopaque.

Bioactive Microspheres with cavities completely through (left) and with cavities of 416 μm (right).
This polymer is made from a copolymer of MMA (methylmethacrylate) and 4-IEMA, an iodine-based molecule. This results in a polymer that highly absorbs X-rays (radiopaque). The hollow spheres can carry drugs and are radiopaque, making them ideal for certain medical applications such as new, traceable bulking agents. These are an attractive alternative to silicone and PTFE microspheres. The materials can have surface functionalization for different injection therapies. Also, the polymeric make-up of the material makes it ideal for embolization techniques.

The injectable polymeric microspheres offer:

  • Embolism with drug release at a specific site.
  • Potential embolization of cosmetic, reconstruction, and urology treatments, and thus sustained effects after several months as the migration of particles away from the treatment site is reduced.
  • Intrinsically radiopaque and visible to standard imaging techniques.
  • Radiopacity for precise localization.
  • Non-cytotoxicity.
  • Prevention of cell migration.
  • Attractive alternative to silicon and PTFE microspheres (SUI treatment).

This technology is offered by Biomed Booster. For more information, view the TechPak at

Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2010 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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