Background: For many years significant efforts have been undertaken to repair broken or resected bone with an implant comprised of biodegradable polymeric compounds that closely resembles the original bone. Poly(propylene fumerate) (PPF) is a polymer of choice for orthopedic applications due to its high mechanical strength biodegradability non-toxicity and ability to crosslink in situ. Since the implant is gradually degraded by the body there is need for it to be biocompatible and non-toxic. Attempts to crosslink PPF with N-vinyl pyrrolidone have been limited by toxicity of the N-vinyl pyrrolidone monomers. Additional attempts to crosslink PPF with Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) have been unsuccessful. Thus a method for producing a PEG-crosslinked PPF non-toxic and biodegrable polymer for use in orthopedic applications remains highly desirable. Technology Description: Researchers at Rice University have invented an injectable biodegradable polymer composite based on Poly(propylene fumerate) (PPF) cross-linked with biocompatible poly(ethylene glycol)-dimethacrylate (PEG-DMA) and if desired beta-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP). This invention provides the ability to control the crosslinking characteristics of the polymerizing composites and the mechanical properties of cross-linked composites by varying the β-TCP content and the double bond ratio of PEG-DMA/PPF. The PEG-DMA/PPF networks produced have clinically acceptable gel times cross-linking temperature increase of less than 2°C and are suitable for use as injectable biodegradable carriers for cell transplantation and drug delivery. Applications: This invention can find potential application as artificial scaffolds for bone replacement biomaterials for skeleton defeats and also in the field of hard tissue repairing.
1) Injectable biomaterials can be fit into an irregularly shaped defect site. 2) Biodegradable and biocompatible crosslinking reagent. 3) Compatible mechanical properties that can be engineered in a wide range. 4) Biomaterial degrades into biocompatible products. 5) The biomaterial shows certain swollen property.