Controlled Administration and Complete Polymer Breakdown Allows for Enhanced Delivery and Nontoxic Implementation
Biodegradable supramolecular polymers that receive and transmit electrochemical information may be employed for efficient and effective medicinal treatment. Targeted drug delivery (occasionally employing stimuli-responsive materials) has been effectively utilized since the early 2000s for such life-threatening illnesses as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and cardiovascular disease; however, available electroactive polymers for controlled drug delivery have failed to be completely biodegradable and often required the aid of a toxic oxidizer during the drug-doping process. Researchers at the University of Florida have discovered a fully biodegradable, conductive polymer that may prove extremely beneficial to modern medicine. This polymer does not require the presence of a toxic oxidizer and completely breaks down due to the action of naturally occurring enzymes in the body. The complete biodegradation of the product would eliminate common problems associated with polymer residue in the body, including inflammation and infection, and the controlled application of electric stimulation would allow for time-sensitive treatment of target cells.
Polymers that naturally breakdown in the body upon the application of an electrical potential in order to optimize drug delivery and disease treatment
- Time-specific drug delivery may improve the treatment of many major diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer, providing a vast and versatile market
- Electrical stimulation allows for controlled release of medicine into the body, thereby improving patient compliance whilst reducing negative side effects
- Biodegradable polymers naturally removed via renal system, providing a safe solution for humans and animals.
- Decreases dosage frequency, thereby reducing costs associated with healthcare for both patients and physicians.
These fully biodegradable polymers discovered by researchers at the University of Florida would be able to administer a specific amount of drug at a specific time interval based on the electrochemistry of the surrounding cell environment and the applied stimulus of an external electrode. The biodegradable polymer would be composed of alternating water soluble electrochemically responsive units and alcohol-terminated diols, thus forming ester bonds that can be easily broken down by enzymes in living systems. The broken down fragments would be small enough to exit the bloodstream through the renal filtration system, rendering the technology fully degradable. Existing “biodegradable” technologies do not fully breakdown into fragments removable by the body.