A new formulation for a smart biodegradable polymer-based hydrogel has been patented by Politecnico di Milano, based on research carried out by Giuseppe Perale, Carmen Giordano, Maurizio Masi, Francesco Daniele, Filippo Rossi and Marta Tunesi.
The new hydrogel is specifically designed for cell housing applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. It is particularly suited for use with neural stem cells and for applications in spinal cord injury, central nervous system and myocardium repair.
The hydrogel is biocompatible, citocompatible and biodegradable, and its physico-chemical properties can be tuned for different applications. For example, it can be used as a cell and drug carrier for local controlled delivery applications, and it can be injected using minimally-invasive systems.
In addition to these different formulations, the researchers have developed a procedure for building three dimensional bio-hybrid structures from the hydrogel, with cells directly encapsulated inside.
This is achieved by the special characteristics of the hydrogel matrix, which allows cells to be added directly during gelation process.
In vitro and in vivo tests in mouse models confirm the suitability and high flexibility of the hydrogel as a tool for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.