Dow Corning, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, is a leading supplier to the healthcare industry and offers an extensive line of siliconbased materials. With more than 70 years of experience and innovation, the company helps its customers develop healthcare products with unique benefits and market-leading capabilities.

The megatrends

Four trends are driving huge growth in wearable medical devices, including skin-adhered diagnostic and therapeutic devices. First, the population is ageing. Seniors typically have more medical issues and difficulties travelling for care. Wearable medical devices can allow ageing patients to benefit from convenient, remote monitoring and home treatment.

Skin-adhered devices can wirelessly relay critical data to clinicians and automatically deliver medication.

Second, chronic conditions affect approximately half of all adults. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity and arthritis can require ongoing monitoring. Third, there is also increasing interest in patients managing their own health and fitness. Skin-adhered devices can provide a wide range of self-management functions, such as back therapy guidance, ambulation monitoring and smoking cessation.

The final megatrend is the pressure to reduce medical costs. Replacing some inpatient and outpatient clinical care with remote monitoring and treatment could help control costs. Skin-adhered devices can wirelessly relay critical data to clinicians and automatically deliver medication; for example, via a programmed on-body injector.

Next-generation adhesives

Dow Corning is developing new pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) and gentle soft-skin adhesives with different levels of tack, adhesion strength and other parameters. These adhesives help medical device designers and manufacturers improve comfort and performance.

Selecting the right adhesive for each device type – based on factors such as duration of wear, skin condition, and device size or weight – can have a significant impact on patient compliance and treatment efficacy. Advancements in silicone adhesive technologies are intended to offer expanded flexibility to support new device designs, while meeting patient needs for comfort and ease of use.

"In addition to delivering proven biocompatibility, water repellence and design versatility, our wide range of advanced silicone adhesives makes it easy to find a match for the specific application," says Marie Crane, healthcare marketing leader at Dow Corning.

New products

Two recent product launches include low-temperaturecure liquid silicone rubber, which provides high injection speeds and fast cure rates at temperatures _160°C; and next-generation selective adhesion materials, which enable the combination of silicone onto resin substrates such as copolyester, with primerless adhesion and a fast cure at low temperatures.

Dow Corning offers a comprehensive silicone materials portfolio: PSAs, medical-grade elastomers, soft-skin adhesives, lubrication and siliconisation coatings, tubing and moulded assemblies, topical ingredients, topical excipients, antifoams and simethicone emulsions, and more. These highperformance materials have proved to be compliant, reliable and durable in hundreds of device applications. Company experts provide technical, industry and regulatory expertise to support manufacturers and designers.