Composites of biocompatible or biodegradable polymers and inorganic materials that contain mineral phases similar to bone have been a focus of biomaterial research for many years. They represent a fundamental construction principle of nature for the creation of mechanically stable, load-bearing and, at the same time, elastic nanostructured support materials. Even though lab synthesis of such materials has not yet been as successful as in nature, significant progress has been achieved in this area in recent years.
In our department, we synthesize biocompatible and biodegradable lactone-based polyesters and poly (ester-urethanes), which are distinguished in a wide range of mechanical and thermal properties as well as indifferent degradation behavior.
In the case of polyurethanes, in situ foamable - and therefore porous - polymer materials can be produced using intermediate reactive isocyanate groups. Since the corresponding prepolymers are built from cell-compatible, natural building blocks and the isocyanate groups are fully implemented, our polymers are highly biocompatible.
Our research also focuses on the combination of these polymers with inorganic materials, such as calcium phosphate or calcium carbonate, which can be found in the hard tissue of the human body either in this form or a chemically analogous one. The addition of calcium carbonate to the in situ foaming of polyurethane prepolymers enhance the mechanical properties, degradability and pH value during the degradation of the composite materials. The pot life of the composite formation varies between 5 and 20 minutes.
An initial animal study at the University Hospital Erlangen, carried out with hybrid polymers containing 60 % calcium carbonate, exhibited very good results regarding absorption and ingrowth behavior. Histological experiments showed no abnormalities in cells, which demonstrates the high cell compatibility in vitro.
Our distinct skills and expertise in the specific synthesis of polymer foams containing inorganic fillers make us qualified partners for individual inquiries from the research and industrial fields.
Dr. Thorsten Laube
Phone: +49 3641 282555