We've been working on a polymer mesh to help treat women suffering complications following childbirth.

The challenge

Treating pelvic organ prolapse

Tissue engineered pelvic organ prolapse mesh with seeded endometrial stem cells.

Pelvic organ prolapse is a hidden burden affecting many Australian women. It most often occurs as a result of childbirth when one or more organs descend from where they should be as a result of weakened ligaments, muscles and supporting tissue. The early stages can sometimes go unnoticed, but later symptoms include incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

Milder forms are treated through exercise and therapeutic medical devices (pessaries), while more severe cases require reconstructive surgery, where permanent mesh implants are added to support and aid tissue repair. In fact, it's estimated that one in five Australian women will have surgery for the condition at some stage in their life.

Unfortunately, current mesh implants are known for causing complications.

Our response

Polymer mesh material

We've partnered with the Hudson Institute for Medical Research to develop a new and improved mesh with better mechanical properties. The mesh is made of various polymers that have been blended with biological coatings to enhance cell compatibility and tissue integration.

We're also using our Pearcey high performance computing cluster to simulate the stressful forces a patient would experience, such as during coughing or running, and modelling a variety of different situations to assess the mesh under stress.

The results

Improved outcomes for patients

In the US alone, approximately 500,000 operations for POP disorders are conducted each year. This technology has the potential to significantly reduce adverse side effects associated with current treatments, improving outcomes for patients.

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