The type of research carried out in the group is concentrated on Biodegradable Hard Tissue Implants, Tissue Engineering Applications, 3D Printing, Controlled Drug Delivery, Immobilization (Biosensors and Bioreactors), and Liposomes. The following are the research fields that METU-BIOMAT is active in.
Fracture Fixation with Biodegradable Bone Plates
In this study, biodegradable and biocompatible polyesters are tested alone or in combination with hydroxyapatite (HAp). The aim is to investigate and improve the mechanical characteristic of these plates and when necessary, load them with antibiotics, growth factors, and other agents to improve bone healing.
Tissue Engineering of Bone and Cartilage
The aim of this study group is to produce a novel tissue-engineered bone or cartilage by seeding bone cells, especially osteoblasts, and cartilage cells (chondrocytes) on different carriers such as collagen, and synthetic and biotechnological polyesters. The matrix is used to guide osteoblast organization and growth allowing diffusion of nutrients to the transplanted cells. They also provide vascularization. Thus, this strategy may offer many of the advantages of bone and cartilage grafting while avoiding the complications of immune rejection, donor site morbidity, and limited availability.
Tissue Engineering of Cornea
Tissue Engineering of Cornea is a project planned to continue between 2004 and 2007 to construct a full-thickness cornea and is funded through a European Union FP6 STREP Grant. The responsibility of METU-BIOMAT is to prepare the cell carriers made of polyesters and collagen and carry out initial tests for compatibility of the materials and the cells.
The construction of a biosensor is based on the inhibition of biological activity by the analyte. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is one of the biosensitive agents attached to the biosensor for the detection of pesticides with anti-cholinesterase activity (eg. carbamates and organophosphates). Examples include membranes made of poly(2-hydroxyethylmethacrylate) (pHEMA) being used as the matrix for the immobilization of acetylcholinesterase and choline oxidase. Quantitative determination is based on the decrease in oxygen consumption in pesticide presence.
Bioactive Agent Delivery
Novel biodegradable and biocompatible polymeric carriers can serve as a new mode of administration of the drugs to improve pharmacodynamic parameters, efficacy and to increase general tolerance of the treatment. Therapeutic microparticles containing various agents of interest have been configured as microspheres, nanospheres, microcapsules, and liposomes. Among these nanoparticles are solid biocompatible polymeric particles into which drugs can be incorporated or to which drugs can be bound. In a typical application anti-leukemic enzyme L-asparaginase was entrapped in poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate) nanocapsules. The half-life of nanoparticulate drug carriers in vivo was modified by increasing surface hydrophilicity, attachment of hydrophilic polymers to create steric barriers. Heparin conjugation and plasma treatments are examples of modification along this line.
Antibiotic, analgesic, anesthetic, and anticancer agent delivery from extruded fibers and cold-molded rods is another method of controlled delivery being studied along with pH-responsive NIPAM based systems.
Gene delivery via DNA-polyelectrolyte complexes free or entrapped in polyelectrolyte shells are being developed with the aim of improving the transfection capabilities with the ultimate aim of developing vaccines.
Liposomes are being developed for responsive delivery of anticancer and antibiotic agent delivery. Responsive is introduced by the introduction of photolabile agents into the liposomal membrane.