Researchers at the University of Bradford’s School of Engineering and the university’s spinoff called AGT Sciences have been working on a new hydrogel with potential applications in orthopedics, wound care, and other clinical disciplines in which connective tissue matters.
Here’s what AGT says about its product, promoted as “cartilage repair gel”:
Our hydrogel is made up almost entirely of water, yet can thicken to produce a substance 100-1000 times stronger than any other gel of its kind.
This is because it is composed of two very long elastic-like molecules that form strong covalent bonds with each other to form a 3D network, like a cage, that holds the water. By adjusting the number of bonds, the physico-chemical properties of the gel can be manipulated to make it thick, thin or sticky. The gel also has the capability to hold molecules of other substances, whether water soluble or water insoluble (e.g. oil).
Much of the company’s development has been undertaken using polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) as the co-polymer. Our innovation, derived from research undertaken by our scientists at the University of Bradford, is a unique cross-linker, "PD2000", that is capable of bonding with a range of copolymers to form materials with a unique combination of useful properties.
A summary of the features of this technology includes:
Physical and Chemical Properties Able to form a wide range of hydrogels with different physico-chemical properties Able to vary the physical form ranging from liquid to a solid Solid can be formed with very high water content (90%+) Cross-linking reaction can complete unaffected by the presence of other substances Very high mechanical strength maintained even with high (90%+) water content Can be extruded into films Temperature and radiation resistant Cross-linking reaction is reversible when desired
Release and Absorption Properties
Can be used for sustained release of incorporated substances by virtue of zero order kinetics Can be used to generate microemulsions – with the added capability of being able to ‘burst’ and release Hygrostatic – maintains level of hydration
Toxicity and Cell Biology
Non-toxic and meets current safety regulations Intrinsically bacterostatic Can be used as a medium for tissue growth
Product page: AGT Sciences hydrogel…
University of Bradford press release: Cartilage repair gel will improve quality of life…