Cells construct living composite polymers for biomedical applications

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Sumary of Cells construct living composite polymers for biomedical applications:

  • Biomedical engineers at Duke University have demonstrated that a class of interwoven composite materials called semi-interpenetrating polymer networks (sIPNs) can be produced by living cells..
  • The approach could make these versatile materials more biologically compatible for biomedical applications such as time-delayed drug delivery systems..
  • The concept of sIPNs has been around for more than 100 years and has been used in automotive parts, medical devices, molding compounds and engineering plastics..
  • The general idea is for one or more polymers to assemble around another polymer scaffold in such a way that they become interlocked..
  • Even though the polymers are not chemically bonded, they cannot be pulled apart and form a new material with properties greater than the simple sum of its parts..
  • Traditional methods for manufacturing sIPNs typically involve producing the constituent parts called monomers and mixing them together in the right chemical conditions to control their assembly into large networks in a process called polymerization..
  • “When it works, it’s a fantastic platform that can incorporate different functionalities into the self-assembled layer for biomedical or environmental applications,”.
  • In the new paper, Zhuojun Dai, a former postdoc in the You lab who is now an associate professor at the Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology, uses a platform that the lab has been developing for several years called “swarmbots”…

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