Composite and Drug-Eluting Hydrogels
Hydrogels are highly hydrated materials, which may absorb from 10% up to hundreds of times their dry weight in water, composed of three-dimensional hydrophilic polymeric networks that are similar to those in natural tissue. When based on biocompatible polymers, they can be used as local drug delivery systems and scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. The combination of viscosity, gelation time and swelling degree, with controllable mechanical and other desired properties, to fit each specific application, is crucial.
Drug Eluting Formulations
Specific formulation have been developed for delivering antibiotic drugs and antiseptic agents locally. Their injection into the periodontal pocket for example, followed by in-situ gelation, is well designed to treat periodontal (gum) diseases, which are a global health concern. Other formulations have been designed for the delivery of analgesic drugs, which are beneficial in various illnesses.
Incorporation of various fillers result in composite hydrogel structures. For example: combination of bone particles with the injectable hydrogel is designed to successfully be used as a unique bone graft system, which provides improved handling and reduced surgery time compared to the currently used systems.