École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) researchers from Switzerland have developed a hydrogel which is made up of about 90% water that naturally adheres to soft tissue like cartilage and the meniscus. If the hydrogel carries repair cells, it could help heal damaged tissues.
Two EPFL research groups, led by Dominique Pioletti and Pierre-Etienne Bourban, have created a biocompatible hydrogel that naturally adheres to soft tissues like cartilage and the meniscus. Their hydrogel water can withstand mechanical stresses and extensive deformation. This eliminates the need for a separate binding process. The research was published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
“Our hydrogel is ten times more adhesive than currently available bio-adhesives on the market,” says Pioletti, head of the Laboratory of Biomechanical Orthopedics in EPFL’s School of Engineering.
Martin Broome, head of the Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgery Department at the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) said “If we build on the hydrogel’s remarkable adhesive properties, that could open the door to a large number of potential applications. One day, for example, it might be used in place of metallic materials like titanium to set bone fractures. More immediately, we may no longer need to use complex sutures on some types of soft tissue.”