A drug delivering hydrogel adhesive with two faces
We engineered a two-sided biomaterial that firmly attaches to injured tendons and allows for normal gliding of adjacent tissues. The biomaterial can also be loaded with drugs that are delivered locally and are slowly released over an extended period of time to promote tendon healing.
Current treatments for injured tendons are not always effective and often leave patients with persistent, chronic symptoms. Oftentimes, tendons do not fully heal to their original structural integrity and mechanical strength.
Building upon the tough gel adhesive technologies we developed at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and the Harvard School of Engineering, we created the Janus Tough Adhesives (JTAs). This two-sided biomaterial can firmly attach to injured tendons with one of its surfaces, while allowing for normal gliding of regenerating tendons on its opposite low friction surface. This is one of the reasons why we chose to name our technology after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions, who is depicted as having two faces.
JTAs can also be loaded with drugs that are delivered locally and slowly over an extended period of time to promote tendon healing. This highly localized drug delivery capability enabled by our hydrogel adhesive is not available in any other biomaterials-based therapy currently in use.
Using a series of injury-relevant, pre-clinical tendon models, we were able to demonstrate that JTAs reduced scar tissue formation and inflammation when compared to the existing standard of care.
The JTA has many desirable properties of a biomaterial-based adhesive for tendon regeneration. Its basic adhesive capabilities are inspired by the mucus produced by the Dusky Arion slug. Here, we have further functionalized the hydrogel material to adapt it to the specific requirements of tendon repair and add drug depots capable of very high loadings and extended release. Given our results and the fact that many components of this biomaterial are already used in other medical applications, we hope that the JTAs will be rapidly adaptable to clinical settings.
There is a large unmet need in tendon repair, and we are excited for this breakthrough as we continue to expand our preclinical studies with the goal of ultimately translating this work into humans.
Thank you to our funding sources: