A biocompatible, heparin-binding polycation for the controlled delivery of growth factors
Zern, Blaine Joseph
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The delivery of growth factors has been attempted for a number of different therapies. The approach of delivering therapeutic growth factors in a safe and efficient manner is difficult and certain criteria should be met. These criteria include: binding the appropriate growth factors, maintaining their bioactivity, and delivering these proteins with controllable release kinetics for an extended period of time. These criteria encompass a set of guidelines that hope to mimic in vivo biological events such as neovascularization. The central goal of this thesis is to meet these criteria by introducing a novel delivery strategy for growth factors using a biocompatible polycation and heparin. It was hypothesized that a polycation could interact with heparin to form a complex with the potential to deliver bioactive growth factors with an adaptable release. This hypothesis was tested by examining the release kinetics of bFGF from the complex and investigating whether the released bFGF maintained its bioactivity. The [polycation:heparin:bFGF] complex was formed by mixing the components in water, resulting in a precipitate. This precipitate was able to deliver bFGF with controllable release kinetics and the bioactivity of the released bFGF was higher than bolus bFGF and comparable to heparin stabilized bFGF. This system is expected to have the ability to bind and deliver numerous heparin-binding growth factors. In conclusion, the delivery system developed in this research provides a novel mechanism for controlled release of growth factors. This delivery strategy has met the criteria listed earlier and this research has laid the foundation for a successful delivery vehicle. Further, a biocompatible polycation was synthesized, which is a critical component of the delivery system. This polycation exhibited in vitro and in vivo biocompatibility that was orders of magnitude higher than existing polycations and has the potential to be very useful in a variety of biomedical applications. This design principle is also expected to serve as a platform for the synthesis of other biocompatible polycations.