Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Polymer Gel Holds Promise For Therapeutics Delivery And Tissue Engineering

Date:
April 3, 2001
Source:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Summary:
A new polymer-based material with unique gelling properties found useful in medical applications ranging from targeted cancer treatment to tissue engineering has been developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

RICHLAND, Wash. - A new polymer-based material with unique gelling properties found useful in medical applications ranging from targeted cancer treatment to tissue engineering has been developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Related Articles


Called a stimuli-sensitive polymer, the material is designed to change immediately from a liquid into a gel in response to stimulus, such as an increase in temperature. This feature would enable physicians to inject the mixture of the polymer and a medicinal solution directly into a specific target in the body, where it would warm and instantly gel.

"Stimuli-sensitive gels show promise for the effective treatment of inoperable tumors," said Anna Gutowska, senior research scientist at PNNL and lead developer of the gel. "While much more research remains to be done before this becomes an accepted medical procedure, we are very excited about its potential."

One of the more promising therapeutic applications is targeted delivery of medical isotopes or chemotherapy drugs to treat inoperable or difficult-to-treat solid tumors, such as those of the liver, pancreas, brain, breast and prostate.

This year, approximately 179,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society. The gel may be applicable as an improved therapy for early-stage prostate cancer, for example.

In this application, the polymer solution would be mixed with a medical isotope or chemotherapy drug, then injected into the tumor where body heat would cause instant gelling. Because the gel holds the therapeutic at the target site, developers anticipate being able to safely deliver a uniform dose to cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

In preliminary tests, the gel appears to hold therapeutic isotopes in place. Furthermore, the gel appears to be compatible with both beta- and gamma-emitting isotopes, which would enable physicians to select the most effective medical isotope for individual treatment needs.

While initial research was funded by DOE, PNNL now is applying National Institutes of Health funding to optimize the material's performance and investigate potential long-term toxic effects of leaving the material in the body, though preliminary studies show the gel to be benign.

In related research, PNNL is collaborating with the Medical University of South Carolina to test a biodegradable version of the polymer gel to support repair of articular cartilage - the durable type of cartilage that provides cushion between joints.

Once injured, articular cartilage doesn't heal well, or typically at all on its own. Consequently, more than one million cartilage repair surgeries are conducted annually. However, there are limitations to the effectiveness of these surgeries because physicians have been unable to spur growth of articular cartilage inside the body. Therefore, cartilage cells, called chondrocytes, instead are extracted from a different site within the body for cultivation in the laboratory. Not only does this create another defect, but physicians have been unable to cultivate chondrocytes with all the properties required to generate articular cartilage. Rather, a weaker, less durable type called fibrocartilage forms.

Through a two-year, DOE-funded project, Gutowska and collaborators at the Medical University of South Carolina are developing two components to support the successful repair of articular cartilage. The first is a three-dimensional cell culture system to support the in-laboratory growth of chondrocytes that retain the properties necessary for articular cartilage repair. A patent recently was issued for this technology. The second component is a biodegradable polymer gel that can be injected into the defect to serve as a temporary synthetic "scaffold" to support growth of the injected chondrocytes. Testing of the biodegradable gel currently is taking place at the Medical University of South Carolina.

"Our aim is to develop a gel that supports the propagation of articular cartilage-forming cells not only in the laboratory, but directly at the site of injury," Gutowska said. In addition, the three-dimensional cell culture system may be applicable to support future tissue engineering processes, such as the cultivation of stem cells from non-embryonic sources.

Business inquiries on polymer gel should be directed to Erik Stenehjem at 509-372-4212. Information on other PNNL technologies should be directed to 1-888-375-PNNL or e-mail: inquiry@pnl.gov

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a DOE research facility and delivers breakthrough science and technology in the areas of environment, energy, health, fundamental sciences and national security. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, has operated PNNL for DOE since 1965.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Polymer Gel Holds Promise For Therapeutics Delivery And Tissue Engineering." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010329075756.htm>.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (2001, April 3). Polymer Gel Holds Promise For Therapeutics Delivery And Tissue Engineering. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010329075756.htm
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Polymer Gel Holds Promise For Therapeutics Delivery And Tissue Engineering." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010329075756.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins