student profile: Mr Morris Ark


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Development of a Novel Treatment Device for Upper Gastrointestinal Complications

Supervisors: Colin DUNSTAN , Philip BOUGHTON

Thesis abstract:

The upper gastrointestinal (UGI) tract encompasses the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. These organs play an important role in the digestion of food; and therefore if impaired could lead to malnutrition and affect quality of life. One of the major UGI complications that affect approximately 1 in 10 Australians is gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). This is when stomach acid frequently passes back up into the oesophagus, causing damage to the oesophageal tissue lining. Research has shown that frequent exposure of acid can increase the risk of adenocarcinoma in the oesophagus, where the incidence in Western populations is increasing. The survival rate for patients with oesophageal adenocarcinoma is very poor and so the best option is to minimise the risk of formation by treating GORD.

This thesis proposed to resolve issues related to GORD management, help those suffering from reflux and also reduce the risk of adenocarcinoma formation. The proposed device is made up of two main components, an anti-reflux valve and a novel attachment system that uses LED light activation to adhere the device to tissue.

Various tests were conducted on the two components such as tensile test, SEM imaging, pressure tests and cell culture. These tests were performed to determine the potential and viability of this novel device. The results showed that the device can adhere to porcine tissue with adhesive lap shear strength of 7.50 kPa after 10 minutes of light activation using standard LEDs. The device was shown to be capable of long-term tissue integration, supporting cell attachment and proliferation. Various valve designs were tested, with the best performing valve able to prevent pressure upwards of 6 kPa, close to the natural pressure exerted by the lower oesophageal sphincter. Deployment of the device in porcine oesophagus was promising using a standard medical endoscope, however further optimisation needs to be done before clinical trials can start.

The significance of this research showed that a light activated adhesive system was possible using standard LED lighting, achieving strengths superior to fibrin glue while being safe and capable of long-term tissue integration. Another key outcome was silicone anti-reflux valves were made from 3D-printed moulds capable of replicating the pressures of natural oesophagus. The final device shows promise and with future development could become a new treatment option for long-term sufferers of GORD.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Ark, M., Tran, G., Chen, Y., Boughton, P., Cosman, P., Dunstan, C. (2016). Characterisation of a novel light activated adhesive scaffold: Potential for device attachment. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 62, 433-445. [More Information]
  • Ark, M., Cosman, P., Boughton, P., Dunstan, C. (2016). Review: Photochemical Tissue Bonding (PTB) methods for sutureless tissue adhesion. International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives, 71, 87-98. [More Information]

Conferences

  • Ark, M., Tran, G., Cosman, P., Boughton, P., Dunstan, C. (2016). Characterisation of a novel light-activated adhesive scaffold to be used for device attachment. 6th International Conference on Mechanics of Biomaterials and Tissues, Waikoloa: Elsevier.

2016

  • Ark, M., Tran, G., Chen, Y., Boughton, P., Cosman, P., Dunstan, C. (2016). Characterisation of a novel light activated adhesive scaffold: Potential for device attachment. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 62, 433-445. [More Information]
  • Ark, M., Tran, G., Cosman, P., Boughton, P., Dunstan, C. (2016). Characterisation of a novel light-activated adhesive scaffold to be used for device attachment. 6th International Conference on Mechanics of Biomaterials and Tissues, Waikoloa: Elsevier.
  • Ark, M., Cosman, P., Boughton, P., Dunstan, C. (2016). Review: Photochemical Tissue Bonding (PTB) methods for sutureless tissue adhesion. International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives, 71, 87-98. [More Information]

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.