When Swedish scientists recently set out to create a rigid bone-replacement material, they inadvertently ended up producing a soft and rubbery substance. That’s alright, though, as it may end up being even more useful than the bone stand-in.
Developed by a team at the Chalmers University of Technology, the biocompatible material is soft, flexible, and elastic, plus it’s filled with a 3D network of nanoscale pores — making it perfect for controlled drug release.
This means that a drug-loaded piece of the material could be implanted in the body to deliver medication precisely where it’s needed, minimizing the side effects and higher dosages that would come with oral administration of the same drug.
What’s more, the material could also be used to help patients suffering from inflammatory diseases like arthritis. This could involve using the substance to 3D print parts to replace damaged cartilage or other soft tissue within the body.
Currently, the technology is underway to be commercialized and is expected to reach medical use in the near future.