Biomedical applications of nanofibrillar cellulose

Patrick Laurén, 2018

Abstract

"Hydrogels are emerging as an important source for current biomaterial design, as they often possess intrinsic physical and mechanical similarities with soft tissue, are non-toxic and biocompatible. However, many hydrogel-based biomimetic materials are either derived from limited sources, or require external activators to achieve functionality, such as chemical crosslinking or environmental cues. Furthermore, many cross-linkers used with hydrogels are toxic, and environmental cues invoke slow responses. Therefore, to function as a rational biomaterial design for a biomedical application, these properties are preferably avoided, or improved with a composite system containing two or more polymer components to overcome these limitations. Plant-derived nanofibrillar cellulose (NFC) possesses the same intrinsic properties as many other hydrogels derived from the components of extracellular matrices (ECM). Therefore, NFC shares the biocompatibility and non-toxicity aspects of biomimetic materials. However, additional features of NFC can be exploited, such as shear-thinning properties, spontaneous self-gelation and chemical modification capabilities. Additionally, the source of NFC is practically inexhaustible, and is environmentally biodegradable, bearing no ecological burden. Therefore, when designing hydrogel-based biomaterials, NFC offers versatility, which enables the fabrication of potential biomedical applications for various purposes in an environmentally safe way. In this thesis, a wide range of potential applications of NFC-based hydrogels were investigated. These include 3D cell culturing, in vivo implantation and coating systems for drug and cell delivery, controlled drug delivery and local delivery as a bioadhesive system. These methods offer insight into the versatility of NFC-based hydrogels, which could improve the future design of biomaterials, for a safer and more efficient use in biomedical applications."

 

Open Doctoral Dissertation

 

Patrick Laurén, Biomedical applications of nanofibrillar cellulose, University of Helsinki, Finland, 2018.

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