Author(s): Pakulska MM, Ballios BG, Shoichet MS
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Abstract Diseases and injuries of the central nervous system (CNS) including those in the brain, spinal cord and retina are devastating because the CNS has limited intrinsic regenerative capacity and currently available therapies are unable to provide significant functional recovery. Several promising therapies have been identified with the goal of restoring at least some of this lost function and include neuroprotective agents to stop or slow cellular degeneration, neurotrophic factors to stimulate cellular growth, neutralizing molecules to overcome the inhibitory environment at the site of injury, and stem cell transplant strategies to replace lost tissue. The delivery of these therapies to the CNS is a challenge because the blood-brain barrier limits the diffusion of molecules into the brain by traditional oral or intravenous routes. Injectable hydrogels have the capacity to overcome the challenges associated with drug delivery to the CNS, by providing a minimally invasive, localized, void-filling platform for therapeutic use. Small molecule or protein drugs can be distributed throughout the hydrogel which then acts as a depot for their sustained release at the injury site. For cell delivery, the hydrogel can reduce cell aggregation and provide an adhesive matrix for improved cell survival and integration. Additionally, by choosing a biodegradable or bioresorbable hydrogel material, the system will eventually be eliminated from the body. This review discusses both natural and synthetic injectable hydrogel materials that have been used for drug or cell delivery to the CNS including hyaluronan, methylcellulose, chitosan, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) and Matrigel.
This article was published in Biomed Mater
and referenced in Journal of Nanomedicine & Biotherapeutic Discovery