Novel mussel- and puffer fish-inspired stimulus-responsive cervical glue cum pessary as a safe and affordable technology for delaying preterm births and reducing neonatal mortality in remote areas

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Organization Location: 
Maharashtra, India

Preterm births continue to elude the advances in technology and remain to be important challenges in neonatal and maternal health across the globe. India has the highest number of preterm births in the world constituting about a quarter of the global total. The proposed project (through the genre of Science & Technology) uses stimulus responsive biomaterials to address this issue deriving inspiration from marine animals like mussel and puffer fish. At the end of the project, we intend to develop a prototype stimulus responsive hydrogel which can hold on to the surface of the cervix using the chemical basis of the attachment of a mussel in the sea. It should also be able to swell like a puffer fish to allow a well fit pessary. Hence, this cervical glue come pessary would support the incompetent cervix and prevent preterm labor. At the same time, the gel would be stimulus responsive resulting in dissolution on coming in contact with the amniotic fluid. In the long run, this would help the management of preterm deliveries in the remotest parts of the world with minimal expert care. Preterm births due to cervical incompetence are managed by invasive cerclage operations. They have limited benefits in prevention of preterm births and require expert medical care both during the insertion and removal of stitches. In resource-limited countries like India, the proposed device would serve as a novel and accessible alternative for delaying deliveries and preventing preterm births.

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