Biological signalling is regulated through a complex and tightly choreographed interplay between cells and their extracellular matrix. The spatiotemporal control of these interactions is essential for tissue function, and disruptions to this dialogue often result in aberrant cell fate and disease. When disturbances are well understood, correct biological function can be restored through the precise introduction of therapeutics. Moreover, model systems with modifiable physiochemical properties are needed to probe the effects of therapeutic molecules and to investigate cell–matrix interactions. Photoresponsive biomaterials benefit from spatiotemporal tunability, which allows for site-specific therapeutic delivery in vivo and 4D modulation of synthetic cell culture platforms to mimic the dynamic heterogeneity of the human body in vitro. In this Review, we discuss how light can be exploited to modify different biomaterials in the context of photomediated drug delivery and phototunable cell culture platforms. We survey various photochemistries for their applicability in vitro and in vivo and for the biochemical and biophysical modification of materials. Finally, we highlight emerging tools and provide an outlook for the field of photoresponsive biomaterials.
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C.A.D. gratefully acknowledges support in the form of a faculty early career development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (DMR-1652141), an innovation pilot award from the Institute of Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine and a royalty research grant (A112554) from the University of Washington.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Ruskowitz, E., DeForest, C. Photoresponsive biomaterials for targeted drug delivery and 4D cell culture. Nat Rev Mater 3, 17087 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/natrevmats.2017.87
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