Skip to main content

Molecular design of biomaterials for the delivery of therapeutic proteins

Hydrogels are increasingly being used for the successful delivery of drugs in regenerative medicine. However, optimising their structure and physicochemical properties to make sure that they can appropriately encapsulate drugs and proteins remains a problem. The ability of growth factors and other key proteins involved in tissue regeneration to retain their biological activity depends on the ability of biomaterials to retain a suitable, physiological-like aqueous environment. Hydrogels can provide a highly hydrated environment for proteins to remain stable and functional. Molecular dynamics simulations of sulphated alginate chains of different chemical composition will be used to investigate how they interact with different types of proteins. The effects of temperature, ionic strength and/or pH will be investigated to determine changes to the structure of these proteins and the stability of their complexes with these hydrogel systems. This project is a collaborative effort with a macromolecular chemistry group at the University of Queensland, and aims to provide a rational approach to the design of biomaterials with applications in drug delivery.

Sulphation of hyaluronic acid in hydrogels stabilises proteins and allows their slow release
Sulphation of hyaluronic acid in hydrogels stabilises proteins and allows their slow release through the control of electrostatic interactions with the negatively charged polymer chains. Taken from from Purcell et al. (2014) Biomater. Sci. 2, 693.