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polymers - Articles and news items

Preparing biocompatible materials for non-permanent medical devices

Issue 5 2012, Polymers / 22 October 2012 / Vinod B. Damodaran and Jessica M. Joslin, Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University and Melissa M. Reynolds, Department of Chemistry and School of Biomedical Engineering, Colorado State University

Biodegradable polymers comprise an important class of biomaterials due to their ability to satisfy short-term requirements for medical applications where a permanent implant is not required. However, current biodegradable polymers suffer from undesirable chemical properties that lead to improper elimination from the body and potentially toxic by-products. Additionally, medical polymers cause adverse biological responses at the material-body interface and therefore require some functionality to regulate such processes. To overcome problems such as processability and solubility issues, we describe our approach to synthesising new classes of biodegradable polymers with desirable structural features that exhibit good solubility, tunable degradation and non-toxic by-products. Additionally, these polymers are functionalised for release of the therapeutic agent, nitric oxide (NO), which serves to regulate initial and long-term biological responses.

Two different classes of modified polymer are presented; the first is based on poly(lactic-coglycolic acid) (PLGH) and the second on dextran. We present the NO release profiles associated with several polymer derivatives of both classes along with their degradation timelines. Overall, the PLGH derivatives are processable as films or fibres and show promise in wound healing and tissue engineering applications while the dextran materials are feasible as prodrugs in the cardiovascular system.

 

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