UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Evolution of Hybrid Hydrogels: Next-Generation Biomaterials for Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering Rana, Md Mohosin; De la Hoz Siegler, Hector

Abstract

Hydrogels, being hydrophilic polymer networks capable of absorbing and retaining aqueous fluids, hold significant promise in biomedical applications owing to their high water content, permeability, and structural similarity to the extracellular matrix. Recent chemical advancements have bolstered their versatility, facilitating the integration of the molecules guiding cellular activities and enabling their controlled activation under time constraints. However, conventional synthetic hydrogels suffer from inherent weaknesses such as heterogeneity and network imperfections, which adversely affect their mechanical properties, diffusion rates, and biological activity. In response to these challenges, hybrid hydrogels have emerged, aiming to enhance their strength, drug release efficiency, and therapeutic effectiveness. These hybrid hydrogels, featuring improved formulations, are tailored for controlled drug release and tissue regeneration across both soft and hard tissues. The scientific community has increasingly recognized the versatile characteristics of hybrid hydrogels, particularly in the biomedical sector. This comprehensive review delves into recent advancements in hybrid hydrogel systems, covering the diverse types, modification strategies, and the integration of nano/microstructures. The discussion includes innovative fabrication techniques such as click reactions, 3D printing, and photopatterning alongside the elucidation of the release mechanisms of bioactive molecules. By addressing challenges, the review underscores diverse biomedical applications and envisages a promising future for hybrid hydrogels across various domains in the biomedical field.

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CC BY 4.0