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Thermally responsive polymers for bioadhesives

We are synthesizing 4 arm polymer via anionic ring opening polymerization with controllable thermal gelation temperatures allowing for biocompatible adhesives.

Sutures and surgical staples are conventional wound closure techniques, which have many disadvantages, including the requirement for anesthesia; risk of infection and inflammation; and difficulty in application/retention in soft tissues. Especially in internal organs where fluids or gases are to be sealed off, these techniques are often insufficient. This encourages the development of a large variety of in situ curable tissue adhesives, sealants and hemostatic agents. Previously, a star shaped PPO-PEO block copolymer(poloxamine) was investigated as a polymer matrix for a tissue adhesive. The reversible thermal gelation property gives the hydrogel system an excellent sealing property. Good bulk strength, pliability, and thermal gelation property were achieved by combining two different polymers with functional groups.

The goal of this project is to create a tissue adhesive/sealant with ideal mechanical and thermal properties, adhesion effectiveness, ease of use, and economical efficiency.

Customized functionalized poloxamines are made and characterized via NMR, DSC, rheological measurement, etc. to investigate the formula for best properties without blending different polymers. As the structural parameters, such as molecular weight, ratio between sections, etc., of the polymer matrix is well defined via living anionic ring opening polymerization, the structural dependence of the thermal gelation point can be determined. Incorporated with reactive end groups, the synthetic polymer can perform better as a tissue adhesive/sealant. With the study of the thermal dynamics of the polymer solution and reaction kinetics, the hydrogel can be tailored towards the optimal performance.

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Clemson, South Carolina | mefford@clemson.edu