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How Medical-Grade Silicone Is Advancing Reliable Patient Care

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A dispensing system developed by Avantor’s NuSil brand injects pre-sterilized silicone directly into the body, allowing the material to conform to the patient's anatomy and cure into its final form, creating a custom-fit device.

Medical implants and prosthetics are foundational to modern healthcare, making a positive impact in patients' lives across the globe. Medical-grade implant production is a highly regulated process to ensure device efficacy and longevity in the human body. The long shelf life and biocompatibility, among other characteristics, make silicone elastomer a preferred material for implantable devices by providers worldwide.

While frequently used in orthopedic applications, demand for silicone implant products recently increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies such as Avantor played a vital role in battling the global health crisis by continuously supplying medical-grade and FDA-compliant silicone technology that meets device manufacturers' unique production needs.

To spotlight the critical need to advance silicone technology and solutions to improve the delivery of patient care, Informa Markets – Engineering, organizers of the industry-leading Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) and BIOMEDevice events and publisher of PlasticsToday, will present MD&M | BIOMEDigital, a new virtual conference and exhibition for medical device engineers and manufacturers driving progress and innovation in medtech and biotechnology.

Taking place on April 6 and 7, the virtual event will provide a unique meeting opportunity for the global community featuring a virtual expo floor with more than 100 companies driving frontline product innovation. The conference will include a robust agenda offering technical sessions curated around today's challenges, from integrating new materials into the 3D-printing process to showcasing innovations in micromolding medical devices.

Register here and access exhibitor profiles, exclusive networking opportunities, and technical sessions that matter to you.

I recently enjoyed speaking with Julie Cameron, Vice President of Business Development & Commercial Operations at Avantor. The company will be exhibiting at MD&M | BIOMEDigital, and Cameron shared a sneak peek into what attendees can look forward to learning about at its virtual booth. 

As a world leader in providing mission-critical products and services to the healthcare and life sciences sectors, among other industries, what role has NuSil played in fighting the ongoing pandemic?

Julie Cameron: The NuSil brand from Avantor supplies critical materials for medical devices and healthcare applications, including pharmaceutical processing. Our solutions support the treatment of patients and fill, finish, and packaging of vaccines.

Can you speak to emerging trends you have seen in the life sciences sector due to the pandemic and how NuSil will help shape this landscape?

AvantorJulie Cameron headshot

Julie Cameron, Vice President of Business Development & Commercial Operations, Avantor.

Cameron: The pace of innovation is accelerating, from increasing R&D activities to fast-track therapy development. With more than 40 years of expertise, our team can quickly provide the right solution, whether it's developing a flexible, high-purity silicone for controlled-release drug delivery technology or formulating an elastomer to match a specific manufacturing process. As science takes on some of its most significant challenges yet, we're ready with the global resources and deep understanding to help develop the biomedical technology that changes people's lives.

The advent of personalized medicine to address chronic conditions and disease is also taking shape, a trend we see with the personalization of biomaterials. For decades, silicone elastomers have been used to fabricate device components or entire devices. However, NuSil has innovated an in situ-cured silicone dispensing system. By injecting pre-sterilized silicone directly into the body, the material can conform to the patient's anatomy and cure into its final form, creating a custom-fit device. For example, in situ-cured silicones can provide cushioning or enable flexibility in therapeutic orthopedic applications.

What excites you most about the future of healthcare?

Cameron: Science keeps moving forward. For example, since the AIDS epidemic began, it's estimated that more than 75 million people have been infected with HIV, and more than 32 million have died from AIDS-related illnesses. In 2020, we commercialized a controlled-release drug-delivery technology for HIV prevention. The technology uses NuSil's flexible, high-purity silicone to release an anti-HIV drug continuously. We're proud that our team helps make progress by providing new HIV prevention options, particularly in the areas most impacted by that epidemic.

Avantor will be showcasing its NuSil brand at the upcoming MD&M | BIOMEDigital virtual event. What products and services can attendees look forward to seeing and learning about at the company's booth?

Cameron: The NuSil booth will showcase our medical-grade silicone solutions for long-term implantable devices and other medical devices. We'll share information on a full range of high-purity silicone adhesives, lubricious silicones, and our in-situ cure technology. The NuSil team will be available to discuss specific needs, including customization and product development services.

We'll also be presenting a Tech Talk session, "Designing with Medical-Grade Silicone: Considerations for Medical Product Design Engineers." It will cover the role high-purity silicones play in developing innovative medical devices,including an overview of silicone and how to choose the right silicone. Tune in on April 7 at 11:30 a.m.

What excites you most about engaging with your community via a virtual event?

Cameron: Science matters more than ever. Healthcare professionals have worked tirelessly to fast-track COVID-19 treatments. Events like MD&M | BIOMEDigital allow us to take a step back from our day-to-day to realize how far we've come as a life sciences community — and see how far we can go to change the lives of people across the globe for the better.

Our team can't wait to connect with everyone at MD&M | BIOMEDigital. We want to share the value of high-purity silicones for medical devices, answer attendees' questions and learn more about their novel solutions to some of the most challenging or pervasive health challenges. 

To schedule a meeting with Avantor at MD&M | BIOMEDigital, please register for the event here and reach out to Julie Cameron, Vice President, Business Development & Commercial Operations, Avantor: marketing@nusil.com.

About the author

Hayley Haggarty is Group Event Director, MD&M | BIOMEDigital, at Informa Markets – Engineering.

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