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(32) Complex Hydrogels for Wound Healing Applications

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Shira Mandel1, Curtis Frank1, Daphne Ly2, George Yang2, Michael Longaker2, Jennifer Cochran2

1Stanford University, Department of Chemical Engineering
2Other, add details at the bottom of the list

The current standard of care for wound healing is treatment with saline soaked gauze, which must be changed three times a day and can often be painful and cumbersome. Furthermore, there is no specific way to add therapeutic agents to the gauze dressings other than to apply them separately. Our objective is to engineer a biomaterial that can be used as a wound dressing in order to 1) create a protective barrier that permits wound closure and healing, 2) deliver biomolecules that promote wound healing, and 3) remove components from the wound site that impede healing. Hydrogel materials are good candidates for this application because they can provide protection to the wound site and remove excess fluid while keeping the area from drying out completely. Drug delivery can be achieved using a thermo-responsive polymer poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) (PNIPAAm) which undergoes a volume phase transition around 32 °C. Therefore, therapeutic drugs can be incorporated into the swollen network at room temperature (25 °C) and, when heated to body temperature (37 °C), are expelled as the network collapses. We have synthesized poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) / poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) interpenetrating network hydrogels that are capable of absorbing fluid from the wound site. In addition, we have investigated drug delivery from several different complex hydrogel systems that incorporate thermo-sensitive PNIPAAm networks.