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Macroscopic and microscopic hydrogels synthesized by radiation technique and their selected biomedical applications

Piotr Ulanski ,  Janusz M. Rosiak 

Technical University of Lódź, Institute of Applied Radiation Chemistry (TUL-IARC), Wróblewskiego 15, Łódź 93-590, Poland


Among various classes of polymeric products used for biomedical purposes, much attention is attracted by hydrogels - two-component systems consisting of a permanent, three-dimensional network made of covalently bound chains of hydrophilic polymers and water filling the pores. At our Institute since mid-eighties several technologies have been developed to synthesize hydrogels for medical use by radiation technique (e.g. fabrication of hydrogel wound dressings, implemented on an industrial scale, production volume exceeding one million pieces per year). This paper is a brief review of our current research activities in this field.
Radiation techniques, based on crosslinking of polymer chains initiated by ionizing radiation, have many advantages over conventional synthesis methods. No monomers, crosslinking agents and other harmful chemicals are used, so there is no need for any additional purification steps. The process can be performed at any temperature, and the crosslink density can be precisely controlled. Materials can be irradiated in their final, sealed packages. Crosslinking and sterilization occur in single technological step.
By choosing appropriate irradiation conditions one can control the structure and properties of the products. In particular, it is possible to form a continuous, macroscopic hydrogel, or small gel particles of desired dimensions (nanogels, microgels).
Our current projects on the biomedical applications of hydrogels include: system for healing of endometrium cancer by precise, local drug delivery, encapsulation of living cells, construction of hybrid organs, intervertebral disc implants, hydrogel phantoms for three-dimensional radiation dosimetry in radiotherapy, synovial fluid substitute, temperature-sensitive gels and membranes, and dietary additives based on natural and synthetic polymers.

This work has been financed in part by the International Atomic Energy Agency (projects POL/6/007 and 11513/RO) and NATO (grant 980622).


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Presentation: invited oral at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2004, Symposium B, by Piotr Ulanski
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2004

Submitted: 2004-04-28 15:31
Revised:   2009-06-08 12:55