A multifunctional multimaterial system for on-demand protein release
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In order to provide best control of the regeneration process for each individual patient, the release of protein drugs administered during surgery may need to be timely adapted and/or delayed according to the progress of healing/regeneration. This study aims to establish a multifunctional implant system for a local on-demand release, which is applicable for various types of proteins. It was hypothesized that a tubular multimaterial container kit, which hosts the protein of interest as a solution or gel formulation, would enable on-demand release if equipped with the capacity of diameter reduction upon external stimulation. Using devices from poly(epsilon-caprolactone) networks, it could be demonstrated that a shape-memory effect activated by heat or NIR light enabled on-demand tube shrinkage. The decrease of diameter of these shape-memory tubes (SMT) allowed expelling the payload as demonstrated for several proteins including SDF-1 alpha, a therapeutically relevant chemotactic protein, to achieve e.g. continuous release with a triggered add-on dosing (open tube) or an on-demand onset of bolus or sustained release (sealed tube). Considering the clinical relevance of protein factors in (stem) cell attraction to lesions and the progress in monitoring biomarkers in body fluids, such on-demand release systems may be further explored e.g. in heart, nerve, or bone regeneration in the future.