The objective of this research is to develop novel deployable biodegradable orthopedic fixation devices from shape memory polymer networks. The technology would replace current screw type orthopedic fixation devices with a """"""""smart plug"""""""" capable of deploying and fixing tendons in bone in a simple, reliable, and minimally invasive manner. A fundamental understanding of the link between the chemical/physical structure of a representative polymer network and its thermo-mechanical and shape-memory properties will be developed. Necessary modifications to the polymer structure, to make the system biodegradable, will be studied, as will the structural and mechanical effects on the degradation rate. The effect of degradation on the shape-memory response of the material will be analyzed to gain understanding of the long-term storage and deployment issues of the biodegradable shape-memory polymer. These studies will enable the design of an optimal polymer system for use in the next generation of orthopedic fixation devices. In-vitro testing of the devices will allow for the determination of performance of the devices in use. Finally, the addition of cell and therapeutic drug encapsulation in the polymer structure will be explored. ? ?
|Yakacki, Christopher M; Shandas, Robin; Safranski, David et al. (2008) Strong, Tailored, Biocompatible Shape-Memory Polymer Networks. Adv Funct Mater 18:2428-2435|