Catheter Injectable Hydrogels for Minimal Invasive Procedures
Unlike most tissue engineering approaches that use prefabricated scaffolds, catheter delivery of hydrogels is a unique therapeutic method for areas that are difficult to reach in the body, having the ability to conform to any desired shape. It is a novel approach which provides unique challenges and design parameters for the biomaterial.
Novel catheter injectable hydrogels based on natural polymers have been developed and studied. They are designed to fit a variety of well-designed and user-friendly catheters that are commercially available in the market. Special solutions were developed to fit injection via long narrow catheters, and also create dense structures in order to seal damaged areas in body domains such as lung, digestive tract, or the cardiovascular system.
Porous scaffolds with desired mechanical properties were developed as well. Another advantage is that cells and bioactive molecules can be easily incorporated in these biocompatible formulations by mixing them before injection, or by simultaneously injecting them together with the hydrogel. Moreover, the minimally invasive procedure of injection is designed reduce patient discomfort, risk of infection, scar formation, treatment cost, and hospitalization time.