Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
PZ HTL SA

Hydrogels Assessed for Biomedical Uses

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 16 Jul 2013
Image: Agar/PAM DN hydrogels show extraordinary mechanical and free-shapeable properties: (a) bending; (b) knotting; (c) compression; (d) (stretching); (e) hexagon; (f) teddy bear gel under compression; and (g) teddy bear gel after force release (Photo courtesy of Qiang Chen and Chao Zhao).
Image: Agar/PAM DN hydrogels show extraordinary mechanical and free-shapeable properties: (a) bending; (b) knotting; (c) compression; (d) (stretching); (e) hexagon; (f) teddy bear gel under compression; and (g) teddy bear gel after force release (Photo courtesy of Qiang Chen and Chao Zhao).
Scientists are studying hydrogel, a hydrophilic polymer chain with similar flexibility to natural tissue, for new biomedical uses.

Dr. Jie Zheng, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Dr. Robert Weiss, a professor and chair of polymer engineering at the University of Akron (OH, USA), are among the most recent to add to the mounting research of hydrogels, the gelatinous substance that, because of its toughness and plasticity, has several biomedical applications, including cartilage repair, implants for minimally invasive surgery and drug delivery.

Because, as Dr. Zheng reported, “all existing methods to prepare double-network hydrogels involve multiple-step processes, which are tedious and time-consuming.” Dr. Zheng and his team developed a simple, effective, and one-pot technique (in which reactions occur in one as opposed to several pots) to synthesize double-network hydrogels—that is, hydrogels composed of two networks of polymer chains, one rigid, the other ductile.

Dr. Zheng not only made the synthesis of these hydrogels more effective but also made the hydrogels tougher. Most hydrogels are weak and brittle, “suffering from low mechanical strength, poor toughness, and/or limited extensibility and recoverability,” Dr. Zheng remarked. His hydrogels, however, “exhibit high mechanical properties, excellent recoverable properties, and a unique, free-shapeable property,” he stated, making them potential replacements for load-bearing soft tissues such as muscle, cartilage, tendon, and blood vessels.

Dr. Weiss also has synthesized a more resilient brand of hydrogel, a shape memory hydrogel, which can be curved and stretched and fixed into temporary shapes. When exposed to an external stimulus, such as temperature, light, moisture, or an electric field, shape memory polymers recover their original, permanent shape.

Dr.Weiss’s shape memory hydrogels are thermally actuated, so that they stretch and change shape when heated, and they retain this temporary shape when cooled. Biocompatible, shape memory hydrogels have the potential to be used for minimally invasive surgery and drug delivery, Dr. Weiss noted. “Shape memory may be useful for deployment of hydrogels in biomedical applications using less invasive methods ... for example, one can implant a compact form of the device that would deploy into the usable shape after it is implanted,” he said.

A small form of the shape memory hydrogel may be inserted into the body, for instance, where, upon absorbing bodily fluids, it expands into the chosen shape of the implant, thereby filling a wound or replacing tissue. The permeable hydrogels can also be packed with drugs and positioned into the body, where the sponge-like gel biodegrades and releases the drugs from its pores.

The researchers published their findings January 7, 2013, in the journal ACS Macro Letters. Dr. Zheng’s application has received provisional approval for a patent, and his article, coauthored by Zheng and his UA research colleagues, Drs. Qiang Chen, Lin Zhu, Chao Zhao, and Qiuming Wang, was published June 14, 2013, online in the journal Advanced Materials.

Related Links:

University of Akron



comments powered by Disqus

Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel
Image: This novel, flexible film that can react to light is a promising step toward an artificial retina (Photo courtesy of the American Chemical Society).

Novel Nanofilm May Be Artificial Retina Precursor

Researchers have used advanced nanotechnology techniques to develop a light-sensitive film that has potential for future artificial retina applications. Investigators at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: Disruption and removal of malaria parasites by the experimental drug (+)-SJ733 (Photo courtesy of the University of California, San Francisco).

Experimental Antimalaria Drug Induces the Immune System to Destroy Infected Red Blood Cells

An experimental drug for the treatment of malaria was found to induce morphological changes in infected erythrocytes that enabled the immune system to recognize and eliminate them. Investigators at... Read more

Biochemistry

view channel

Blocking Enzyme Switch Turns Off Tumor Growth in T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Researchers recently reported that blocking the action of an enzyme “switch” needed to activate tumor growth is emerging as a practical strategy for treating T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. An estimated 25% of the 500 US adolescents and young adults diagnosed yearly with this aggressive disease fail to respond to... Read more

Business

view channel

R&D Partnership Initiated to Reduce Development Time for New Drugs

nanoPET Pharma, GmbH (Berlin, Germany) signed an open-ended framework contract with the international pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim (Ridgefield, CT, USA). By developing customized contrast agents for research in both basic and preclinical studies, nanoPET Pharma will contribute to the enhancement of Boehringer... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.