Lab surprised to find its drug-delivery system can help even without drugs

ScienceDaily | 3/13/2018 | Staff
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Researchers in the Rice lab of chemist and bioengineer Jeffrey Hartgerink had just such an experience with the hydrogels they developed as a synthetic scaffold to deliver drugs and encourage the growth of cells and blood vessels for new tissue.

To do so, they often tested the gels by infusing them before injection with bioactive small molecules, cells or proteins. What they didn't realize until recently was that the hydrogel itself has significant therapeutic qualities.

Lab - Elsevier - Journal - Biomaterials - Hydrogel

The lab reported in the Elsevier journal Biomaterials that a particular hydrogel, a self-assembling multidomain peptide (MDP) with the amino acid sequence K2(SL)6K2, is indeed bioactive.

Once Hartgerink and his team started to investigate the phenomenon, they found that even without additives their MDP is rapidly infiltrated by host cells, provokes a temporary inflammatory response, does not develop a fibrous capsule, supports the infiltration of a mature vascular network and recruits nerve fibers.

Effect - Control - Peptide - Hartgerink - Structure

"We were surprised to find this strong effect in what we had previously considered to be a control peptide," Hartgerink said. "As it turned out, the inherent structure and chemistry of this peptide, despite being quite simple, results in a strong biological response."

The hydrogel, which can be delivered through a syringe, is designed to degrade over six weeks...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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