Biodegradable polymer for use in medical implants.
- Ability to tailor mechanical properties to desired medical application.
- Easily adjustable biodegradation profile.
Studies into the properties of methyl methacrylate (MMA) networks have led Emory University scientists to develop biodegradable polymers that can be tailored to a wide array of precise medical uses. Unlike the formulation of existing biomedical polymers, the ability to alter the ratio of acrylate compounds within the polymer permits wide variation in elastic modulus, tensile strengths, and strain at break. This allows the production of polymers whose mechanical properties vary from rubbery to glasslike, thus improving their tissue-mimicking abilities. The ability to easily design and manufacture biocompatible medical polymers based on their application and location within the body possesses significant potential to minimize invasiveness and patient recovery times.
Classical methods of controlling biomaterial degradation rates involve synthetic modification of molecular structures. This is time consuming, research intensive, and often yields unforeseen toxic biodegradation products. In contrast, the hydrolysis of MMA macromers is dependent on MMA concentration; biodegradation profiles of these macromers can be tailored to individual concentrations simply by varying MMA concentration The ease at which not only biodegradation but also biocompatibility can be altered by varying MMA concentration therefore makes these networks ideal in the development of biomaterials.
Developmental Stage & Potential Market
- Proof of principle has been demonstrated.
- Biodegradation profiles and mechanical properties of MMA concentrations have been extensively characterized by the inventors.
- Biocompatibles market accounted for $12 billion in sales in 2008.