The first symposium to unify two Québec strategic research groups, the CSACS (Centre for Self-Assembled Chemical Structures) and the CQMF (Centre québécois sur les matériaux fonctionnels), was held on May 3 and 4, 2016, at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), in Montréal. At this symposium, researchers from strategic CSACS and CQMF groups presented their perspectives on the following research areas:
- Self-assembled supermolecular structures
- Nanoscience and nanotechnologies
- Environmental and sustainable development
- Smart materials
This article presents the outlook of the research axis “Biomedical and Biomaterials”presented by Professor John A. Capobianco, Professor in Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Concordia University Senior Research Chair in Nano-science.
Biomaterials in Biomedical applications
Biomaterials presented a tremendous progress in the last years in different types of biomedical applications. The general applications of biomaterials are:
- Storage of fluids, tissues, and other biological products
What is a biomaterial? A biomaterial is any material of natural or synthetic origin that comes in contact with tissue, blood or biological fluids, and that is intended for use in prosthetic, diagnostic, therapeutic or storage applications without adversely affecting the living organism and its components .
Biomaterials have shown an evolution from simple embedded devices to more complex functional materials that control biological interactions.
Biomaterials can be derived from nature or synthesized by variety of components in laboratory using metallic, ceramic, polymer and composite materials. The selection of biomaterial is dependent on the application and based on these parameters:
- Mechanical: strong enough to resist to lifetime repeated force of use
- Diffusion (of drug)
- Water absorption
- Bio-stability: stable and chemically inert
- Biocompatibility: non-toxic and non-carcinogenic
Example of biomaterial in biomedical applications
Targeting Drug Delivery applications
Drug delivery systems require the use of smart biomaterials which derive mainly from their therapeutic and environmental response role. Stimulus-responsive drug delivery such as pH, intra-cellular enzymes, heat and light are the most suitable for cancer therapy due to the over prolonged periods of drug release time variable from patient-to-patient. The photosensitive drug delivery system, nitrobenzyl-type photocaged anticancer drug to another small or macromolecule is an example of a system that uses UV light for the drug release. A potential solution is UCNPs LiYF4; Tm3+/Yb3+ strong UV emission upon 980 nm excitation centered at 353 and 368 nm assigned to the 3P0 – 3H6 and 3P0 – 3F4 respectively that acts as an internal source of UV to facilitate photochemical reaction .
Different biomaterials such as metallic, ceramic and polymeric biomaterials are used in orthopaedic applications:
– Metallic biomaterials: metallic materials such as 316L stainless steel, Co-Cr alloys, titanium, and Ti6Al4V are used for load bearing members (pins, plates, grafts, femoral stems);
– Ceramic biomaterials: Ceramic materials such as alumina, zirconia, carbon and hydroxyapatite are are used for joint replacements and bone bonding applications for implant integration;
– Polymer biomaterials: high molecular weight polymers materials such as polyethylene are used for joint replacements such as articulation.
The biomaterial in dentary implants shows a prominent evolution with the developments in material and biological science. Many types of materials were used for dental implants. The earliest ones were stone, gold and ivory and were reported in China and Egypt. During the 20th century, polymeric implant such as polyurethane, polyamide and polymethylmethacrylate resin and metallic implants such as lead, iridium, tantalum, stainless steel and cobalt alloys were also mentioned . In the present era, newer materials are available for dental implants due to the extensive research work. These materials showed high functional and aesthetical requirements.
The biomedical research disciplines cover the fields of:
Advances in Biomaterials Technology
Biomaterials are often adapted to be used for medical applications such as cell matrices for 3-D growth and tissue reconstruction, biosensors, biomimetic and smart devices and thus comprises a part of a biomedical device which performs natural functions.
Biomaterials have also more advances in controlling and targeting drug delivery due to their new properties such as bioactivity, biodegradability and being inorganic.
The main research topics
The research topics of biomedical research combine several perspectives and research projects related mainly to the drug immobilization for pharmaceutical applications and biomaterial functionalization:
– Improving drug absorption
– Sustained drug delivery
– Drug targeting
– Enhancement of tissue engineering
Marwa Sta is a Master student in the mechanical engineering department at École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) in Montreal, working with electrospinning of themosensitive polymers for biomedical applications.
Program : Mechanical Engineering