UT Arlington And Penn State Researchers Collaborate On Tissue Engineering For Prostate Cancer And Blood Vessel Repair

Yang JianThe central research focus at Penn State University associate professor of biomedical engineering Jian Yang’s main Transformative Biomaterials and Biotechnology Lab (TBBL) is on investigating the methodology of functional biomaterial development and use of the biomaterials as tools to solve unmet clinical needs, such as the development of citrate-based biodegradable elastomers and bioinspired adhesive hydrogels. By cross-combining and convergence of biology and materials science using a technique called “Click Chemistry,” Dr. Yang’s objective is to create materials that can be used to deliver targeted drugs, repair damaged arteries or rebuild failing tissues, such as the anterior cruciate ligament, the ACL injury that can end sports careers. Dr. Yang is a member of the Materials Research Institute and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

Tissue Engineering With Click Chemistry

Finding the right balance between mechanical strength and elasticity in artificial tissue scaffolding has been problematic, as has been the need to add in the desirable traits of biocompatibility and controlled biodegradability. In a recent article in Advanced Materials, Dr. Yang and his colleagues in Penn State’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Academy of Orthopedics of Guangdong Province in China report on the use of thermal click chemistry to make crosslinked citrate-based biodegradable elastomers with high mechanical strength (up to 40 MPa of tensile stress) with easy surface biofunctionalization. In comparison, the ACL has a tensile strength of 38 MPa and most biodegradable elastomers have a dry tensile strength below 10MPa. Click chemistry is a relatively new technique used primarily in drug discovery that uses a few reliable reactions to lock or “click” together small units of biomaterials in simple processes. Yang believes that this is the first reported use of click chemistry to design versatile biodegradable elastomers for tissue engineering.