Researchers develop versatile synthetic platform to produce biodegradable biomaterials for specific biomedical applicati

Apr 12, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Despite significant advances, the development of synthetic biomaterials still presents significant challenges in the field of biomedical engineering. Although synthetic biodegradable materials such as polyester exist, most are biologically inert and lack functionality. Now, thanks to a research team at the University of Pittsburgh, a synthetic platform has been developed that will help produce diverse biodegradable materials for specific biomedical applications. These findings were published online in the March 30 issue of Advanced Functional Materials

The Pitt team, led by principal investigator Yadong Wang, a professor in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery, developed the platform using polymerization between acid and epoxide, a cyclic ether with three ring atoms. 

“For the first time, we present a polymerization approach that is very practical and includes a wide range of starting materials, simple synthesis, and easy modifications,” said Wang. “This platform shows promise in the advancement of tissue engineering and drug delivery and could produce a variety of biodegradable and functionalized biomaterials.”

Wang and his team set out to address previous barriers regarding synthetics by designing a simple and versatile platform that yields functionalized polyesters with diverse physical, chemical, mechanical, and biological properties. More specifically, they focused on hydroxyl groups, a substructure of the water molecule. While using epoxides for another project, Yang and Pitt postdoctoral student Zhengwei You speculated as to what reaction might occur between acids and epoxides. The result was a versatile synthetic platform with easy-to-produce capabilities.  

“To the best of our knowledge, this level of simplicity and versatility for a synthetic platform is uncommon,” said Wang. “Most of the reported synthetic strategies for functionalized require elaborate preparation.”

In addition to possessing , this type of functionalized polyesters will enrich the current collection of compostable polyesters, which, Wang notes, comprise the most promising class of eco-friendly materials.

Explore further: Building the ideal rest stop for protons

Provided by University of Pittsburgh

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Making lifesaving devices less life-threatening

Feb 16, 2011

Every year, more than half a million people in the United States undergo surgery for biomedical implants – like stents or heart valves – intended to save their lives, according to the American Heart ...

Completely Biological, yet Artificial

Sep 14, 2005

Biomaterials are increasingly in demand, needed as materials for implants and prostheses, as "transporters" for drugs, to carry DNA into cells for gene therapy, as supports for the growth of tissue transplants, or for modern ...

The world's smallest 3D printer

May 17, 2011

A research project at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) could turn futuristic 3D-printers into affordable everyday items.

Recommended for you

Building the ideal rest stop for protons

14 hours ago

Where protons, or positive charges, decide to rest makes the difference between proceeding towards ammonia (NH3) production or not, according to scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and ...

Cagey material acts as alcohol factory

15 hours ago

Some chemical conversions are harder than others. Refining natural gas into an easy-to-transport, easy-to-store liquid alcohol has so far been a logistic and economic challenge. But now, a new material, designed ...

User comments : 0