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Mussel-inspired 'glue' for surgical repair and cancer drug delivery
Date:2/16/2013

hydroxyphenylalanine).

All of Messersmith's biomedical materials contain a synthetic form of DOPA. (He first developed a simple synthetic polymer containing DOPA in 2002.) In his AAAS talk, Messersmith will detail these three medical applications of his materials:

  • Fetal membrane repair. Premature rupture of fetal membranes can occur spontaneously or in association with a surgical procedure. The membranes have limited ability to heal from these ruptures, and the situation often leads to early labor, premature birth and other serious complications. Messersmith's synthetic polymer is formulated as a rapidly solidifying liquid glue that adheres to the wet tissue and seals fetal membrane defects. His group is collaborating with researchers in Europe to conduct in-vivo testing of their mussel-inspired medical sealants for fetal membrane repair.

  • Self-setting antibacterial hydrogels. Silver ions possess antibacterial activity at low concentrations, and this has led to interest in incorporating silver into medical devices. Messersmith employs silver both to induce hydrogel cross-linking via catechol oxidation and as a precursor for silver nanoparticle formation. The silver nanoparticles then become embedded within the hydrogel structure, releasing silver ions to produce an antibacterial effect.

  • Cancer drug delivery and destruction removal of cancer cells. One of Messersmith's polymer designs forms pH-sensitive drug delivery vehicles that are stable and inactive in the bloodstream but are activated in the acidic tumor environment, which liberates the drug. A second design involves modifying the surface of gold nanorods with a mussel-inspired polymer coating, which helps the nanorods target cancer cells. Once at the target, the nanorods are irradiated with near-infrared light to produce highly localized heating that thermally destroys cancer cells.


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Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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