Patterned Dual Crosslinked Biopolymer Hydrogels

Background Approximately eight million surgical procedures are performed annually in the United States to treat tissue damage resulting from accidents, birth defects, hereditary disorders, and other diseases. Because traditional tissue repair procedures are inefficient, potentially painful to the patient, and costly to perform, healthcare providers are increasingly interested in finding alternative methods (Frost & Sullivan). Tissue engineering aims to create materials that can replace damaged tissue. Tissue engineering has the potential to change the way medicine and surgery is presently practiced. It can provide needed tissue to not only alleviate suffering but actually to prevent death where tissue is necessary for life-sustaining function

Current tissue-engineered scaffolds are limited because they possess homogeneous bulk structures and properties. This homogeneity is unlike the structures of native tissues, which exhibit heterogeneous mechanical properties, water content, and porosity. If the next generation of tissue-engineered scaffolds is to function effectively as tissue substitutes, then they will need to incorporate spatial patterns of mechanical properties, water content, and porosity.

Invention Description Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have created a novel tissue engineering platform technology to create hydrogels with spatial distribution of hydrogel properties at macro and micro scale. A single bulk hydrogel is created by patterning with two different types of crosslinking. The result of this invention is a three-dimensional hydrogel with heterogeneous distribution of mesh size, water content, and viscoelasticity.

The most significant advantage of The University of Texas at Austin researchers' platform technology is the compatibility of this method with hyaluronic acid, one of the natural components of native tissues. Research and development of this technology is continuing with the goal of integrating stimulus triggered swelling which would inhibit swelling until after the hydrogel is implanted into a patient.

The same platform technology is also applicable to drug delivery. Hydrogels with patterned water content and porosity at the micro-scale can induce anistropic swelling and produce unique drug delivery profiles.


Enables creation of micro- and macro-scale patterned properties Unique zonal architecture Dual-crosslinked hydrogel properties allow system to be suitable to multiple applications Biocompatible and biodegradable based platform systems Potentially a universal delivery system platform with novel release profiles Three-dimensional with heterogeneous distribution of mesh size, water content, and viscoelasticity Can be used in load-bearing applications

Market Potential/Applications Some of the target market segment applications include but are not limited to cartilage, vitreous humor of eye, tissue engineered bone, and connective tissue market segments. This platform will open several new opportunities in biomedical and pharmaceutical applications tied to

- skin (burns, diabetic ulcers, venous ulcers, plastic surgery - orthopedic (cartilage, ligament, vertebral disc, bone grafts

It is estimated that replacement devices/tissues that would result from tissue engineering would expand the U.S. economy by several times the $5 billion that is spent at this time worldwide per year solely on orthopedic and cardiovascular prostheses.

Development Stage Lab/bench prototype

IP Status One U.S. patent application filed

UT Researcher Christine E. Schmidt, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin Scott Zawko, Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin Shalu Suri, BNiomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Type of Offer: Licensing

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