Review Article

Bioresponsive materials

  • Nature Reviews Materials 2, Article number: 16075 (2016)
  • doi:10.1038/natrevmats.2016.75
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Abstract

‘Smart’ bioresponsive materials that are sensitive to biological signals or to pathological abnormalities, and interact with or are actuated by them, are appealing therapeutic platforms for the development of next-generation precision medications. Armed with a better understanding of various biologically responsive mechanisms, researchers have made innovations in the areas of materials chemistry, biomolecular engineering, pharmaceutical science, and micro- and nanofabrication to develop bioresponsive materials for a range of applications, including controlled drug delivery, diagnostics, tissue engineering and biomedical devices. This Review highlights recent advances in the design of smart materials capable of responding to the physiological environment, to biomarkers and to biological particulates. Key design principles, challenges and future directions, including clinical translation, of bioresponsive materials are also discussed.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by NC TraCS, the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA, 1UL1TR001111) of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Grants 1-14-JF-29 and 1-15-ACE-21 from the American Diabetes Association, and Sloan Research Fellowship (to Z.G.), as well as NIH Grants EB016101-01A1 and EB006365 (to R.L.).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.

    • Yue Lu
    •  & Zhen Gu
  2. Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics and Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.

    • Yue Lu
    •  & Zhen Gu
  3. InVivo Therapeutics Corp, Cambridge, One Kendall Square Building 1400, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

    • Alex A. Aimetti
  4. Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    • Robert Langer
  5. David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    • Robert Langer
  6. Department of Anesthesiology, Boston Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

    • Robert Langer
  7. Division of Health Science and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    • Robert Langer
  8. Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

    • Robert Langer
  9. Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.

    • Zhen Gu

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Robert Langer or Zhen Gu.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary information S1 (Table)

    Summary of typical bio-responsive chemical structures