For safe and compatible implants: ClicKit-Well
To evaluate the compatibility of implants with the human body, researchers at Fraunhofer IKTS have developed a test system that takes the biological examination of implant materials to the next level. By means of the patented “ClicKit-Well”, materials are tested in a comparable way by creating identical test surfaces. In addition, multiple tests are possible on a single test specimen. This saves material and enables more efficient analyses of implant compatibility – a revolution in the growing market of medical implants and a future standard tool in daily laboratory use.
The compatibility of implants largely depends on the chosen material. For this reason, implant materials are extensively tested in an artificial laboratory environment that is based on the living organism. For these in-vitro tests, material manufacturers provide test specimens that vary greatly in size and shape depending on the manufacturing processes. Thus, the results when testing the specimens in a conventional culture plate cannot directly be compared quantitatively as the areas wetted with the test fluid differ.
Novel modular test scenario for implant materials
The “ClicKit-Well” test system developed at Fraunhofer IKTS creates defined areas on the material specimens which are exposed to the test fluid, e.g. blood or other body cells. “These test surfaces are created by pressing a flexible, perforated silicone mat on the top of the material to be tested and securing it in a fluid-tight manner. This so-called well attachment resembles standard cell culture plate dimensions,” explains Dr. Juliane Spohn, head of the Biological Materials Analysis group at Fraunhofer IKTS. Test fluid is added to the wells to investigate the interaction with the material test specimen. Since the generated test areas always have the same size, they can be compared quantitatively. This provides more accurate results. Depending on the size of the material test specimen, different tests can be performed simultaneously on one test specimen. Compared to conventional systems, materials and costs can be saved by up to 75 percent. Sterile working conditions are possible thanks to a lid that is placed on the closed system. The test system has a modular design and is constructed in the common cell culture formats 96 well, 48 well and 24 well.
A wide range of applications
“The test system can be used wherever the effect of a material or material surface on adjacent areas is of particular interest,” explains Juliane Spohn. “This concerns the interaction with biological materials, cells, tissues and, at the molecular level, with proteins. Thus, the test system is mainly relevant for research institutions and test laboratories. Together with users, we would like to further develop ‘ClicKit-Well‘ and adapt it for other medical products and fields of application.” With the challenges arising from the current coronavirus pandemic, new areas of application are becoming relevant. Conceivable scenarios for an application of the test system are, for example, examinations of novel antiviral surfaces.
The prototype of the system will be presented at analytica virtual from October 19 to 23, 2020. At the digital Fraunhofer joint booth, users and manufacturers will have the opportunity to get in touch with the IKTS researchers and identify collaboration opportunities.