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Macromolecular Functional Materials for Biomedical Purposes

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Macromolecular Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021) | Viewed by 22233

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacy, Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende, 87036 Cosenza, Italy
Interests: drug delivery systems (DDS); biomaterials; multifunctional carriers; micro-and nano-particles; pro-drugs
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Co-Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacy, Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende, 87036 Cosenza, Italy
Interests: drug delivery systems (DDS); biomaterials; multifunctional carriers; micro- and nano-particles; pro-drugs
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A biomaterial is a material designed to interface with biological systems in order to evaluate, support or replace any tissue, organ or body function. In particular, a biomaterial is a system able to have a double interaction with the receiving organism: The biomaterial causes a biological response of the organism with which it interacts, which in turn can also cause a degradation process of the biomaterial itself. Thanks to these interactions that can be physicochemical, molecular or cellular, biomaterials, especially polymeric ones, can be useful in building biomedical devices and implants, in order to perform fundamental functions in the body. The fields where they are most used are: blood flow control and other body fluids (catheters, cannulas, drains), in orthopedic prostheses, such as contact and intraocular lenses, membranes for the administration of drugs, coatings for sensors and implantable electronic devices, tissue regeneration, heart valves, vascular prostheses, and bioartificial organs. This Special Issue fits into this context and has the purpose of dealing with recent topics concerning the design and performance of functional macromolecular materials that are useful for biomedical purposes.

Prof. Dr. Roberta Cassano
Dr. Sonia Trombino
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biopolymers
  • functional
  • pharmaceutical
  • biomedical
  • tissue engineering
  • performance evaluation

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 2033 KiB  
Article
Calorimetric Evaluation of Glycyrrhetic Acid (GA)- and Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (SG)-Loaded Solid Lipid Nanoparticle Interactions with a Model Biomembrane
by Debora Santonocito, Carmelo Puglia, Cristina Torrisi, Alessandro Giuffrida, Valentina Greco, Francesco Castelli and Maria Grazia Sarpietro
Molecules 2021, 26(16), 4903; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26164903 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1539
Abstract
Glycyrrhetic acid (GA) and stearyl glycyrrhetinate (SG) are two interesting compounds from Glycyrrhiza glabra, showing numerous biological properties widely applied in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic fields. Despite these appreciable benefits, their potential therapeutic properties are strongly compromised due to unfavourable physical-chemical features. [...] Read more.
Glycyrrhetic acid (GA) and stearyl glycyrrhetinate (SG) are two interesting compounds from Glycyrrhiza glabra, showing numerous biological properties widely applied in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic fields. Despite these appreciable benefits, their potential therapeutic properties are strongly compromised due to unfavourable physical-chemical features. The strategy exploited in the present work was to develop solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) as carrier systems for GA and SG delivery. Both formulations loaded with GA and SG (GA-SLNs and SG-SLNs, respectively) were prepared by the high shear homogenization coupled to ultrasound (HSH-US) method, and we obtained good technological parameters. DSC was used to evaluate their thermotropic behaviour and ability to act as carriers for GA and SG. The study was conducted by means of a biomembrane model (multilamellar vesicles; MLVs) that simulated the interaction of the carriers with the cellular membrane. Unloaded and loaded SLNs were incubated with the biomembranes, and their interactions were evaluated over time through variations in their calorimetric curves. The results of these studies indicated that GA and SG interact differently with MLVs and SLNs; the interactions of SG-SLNs and GA-SLNs with the biomembrane model showed different variations of the MLVs calorimetric curve and suggest the potential use of SLNs as delivery systems for GA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Macromolecular Functional Materials for Biomedical Purposes)
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16 pages, 5029 KiB  
Article
Hyaluronic Acid Derivative Effect on Niosomal Coating and Interaction with Cellular Mimetic Membranes
by Patrizia N. Hanieh, Jacopo Forte, Chiara Di Meo, Maria Grazia Ammendolia, Elena Del Favero, Laura Cantù, Federica Rinaldi, Carlotta Marianecci and Maria Carafa
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3434; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26113434 - 05 Jun 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3063
Abstract
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is one of the most used biopolymers in the development of drug delivery systems, due to its biocompatibility, biodegradability, non-immunogenicity and intrinsic-targeting properties. HA specifically binds to CD44; this property combined to the EPR effect could provide an option for [...] Read more.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is one of the most used biopolymers in the development of drug delivery systems, due to its biocompatibility, biodegradability, non-immunogenicity and intrinsic-targeting properties. HA specifically binds to CD44; this property combined to the EPR effect could provide an option for reinforced active tumor targeting by nanocarriers, improving drug uptake by the cancer cells via the HA-CD44 receptor-mediated endocytosis pathway. Moreover, HA can be easily chemically modified to tailor its physico-chemical properties in view of specific applications. The derivatization with cholesterol confers to HA an amphiphilic character, and then the ability of anchoring to niosomes. HA-Chol was then used to coat Span® or Tween® niosomes providing them with an intrinsic targeting shell. The nanocarrier physico-chemical properties were analyzed in terms of hydrodynamic diameter, ζ-potential, and bilayer structural features to evaluate the difference between naked and HA-coated niosomes. Niosomes stability was evaluated over time and in bovine serum. Moreover, interaction properties of HA-coated nanovesicles with model membranes, namely liposomes, were studied, to obtain insights on their interaction behavior with biological membranes in future experiments. The obtained coated systems showed good chemical physical features and represent a good opportunity to carry out active targeting strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Macromolecular Functional Materials for Biomedical Purposes)
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13 pages, 2866 KiB  
Article
Chitosan Membranes Filled with Cyclosporine A as Possible Devices for Local Administration of Drugs in the Treatment of Breast Cancer
by Sonia Trombino, Federica Curcio, Teresa Poerio, Michele Pellegrino, Rossella Russo and Roberta Cassano
Molecules 2021, 26(7), 1889; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26071889 - 26 Mar 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2115
Abstract
The aim of this work is the design, preparation and characterization of membranes based on cyclosporine A (CsA) and chitosan carboxylate (CC) to be used as an implantable subcutaneous medical device for a prolonged therapeutic effect in the treatment of breast cancer. The [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is the design, preparation and characterization of membranes based on cyclosporine A (CsA) and chitosan carboxylate (CC) to be used as an implantable subcutaneous medical device for a prolonged therapeutic effect in the treatment of breast cancer. The choice to use CsA is due to literature data that have demonstrated its possible antitumor activity on different types of neoplastic cells. To this end, CsA was bound to CC through an amidation reaction to obtain a prodrug to be dispersed in a chitosan-based polymeric membrane. The reaction intermediates and the final product were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR). Membranes were analyzed by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The data obtained showed the effective formation of the amide bond between CsA and CC and the complete dispersion of CsA inside the polymeric membrane. Furthermore, preliminary tests, conducted on MDA-MB-231, a type of breast cancer cell line, have shown a high reduction in the proliferation of cancer cells. These results indicate the possibility of using the obtained membranes as an interesting strategy for the release of cyclosporin-A in breast cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Macromolecular Functional Materials for Biomedical Purposes)
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15 pages, 5368 KiB  
Article
Influence of Various Model Compounds on the Rheological Properties of Zein-Based Gels
by Agnese Gagliardi, Silvia Voci, Donatella Paolino, Massimo Fresta and Donato Cosco
Molecules 2020, 25(14), 3174; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25143174 - 11 Jul 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2602
Abstract
The controlled release of a compound entrapped in a biocompatible formulation is a sought-after goal in modern pharmaceutical technology. Zein is a hydrophobic protein which has several advantageous properties that make it suitable for use as a biocompatible and degradable material under physiological [...] Read more.
The controlled release of a compound entrapped in a biocompatible formulation is a sought-after goal in modern pharmaceutical technology. Zein is a hydrophobic protein which has several advantageous properties that make it suitable for use as a biocompatible and degradable material under physiological conditions. It is, therefore, proposed for different biomedical and pharmaceutical applications. In particular, due to its gelling properties, it can be used to form a polymeric network able to preserve biomolecules from harsh environments. The current study was designed to investigate the influence of different probes on the rheological properties of gels made up of zein, in order to characterize the systems as a function of the polymer concentration. Four model compounds characterized by different physico-chemical properties were entrapped in zein gels, and different behaviors (viscoelastic or pronounced solid-like characteristics) of the systems were observed. Zein-based gels showed various release profiles of the encapsulated compounds, suggesting that there are different interaction rates between the probes and the polymeric matrix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Macromolecular Functional Materials for Biomedical Purposes)
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Review

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32 pages, 12345 KiB  
Review
Dendrimers as Non-Viral Vectors in Gene-Directed Enzyme Prodrug Therapy
by Adriana Aurelia Chis, Carmen Maximiliana Dobrea, Luca-Liviu Rus, Adina Frum, Claudiu Morgovan, Anca Butuca, Maria Totan, Anca Maria Juncan, Felicia Gabriela Gligor and Anca Maria Arseniu
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 5976; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26195976 - 01 Oct 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2516
Abstract
Gene-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (GDEPT) has been intensively studied as a promising new strategy of prodrug delivery, with its main advantages being represented by an enhanced efficacy and a reduced off-target toxicity of the active drug. In recent years, numerous therapeutic systems based [...] Read more.
Gene-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (GDEPT) has been intensively studied as a promising new strategy of prodrug delivery, with its main advantages being represented by an enhanced efficacy and a reduced off-target toxicity of the active drug. In recent years, numerous therapeutic systems based on GDEPT strategy have entered clinical trials. In order to deliver the desired gene at a specific site of action, this therapeutic approach uses vectors divided in two major categories, viral vectors and non-viral vectors, with the latter being represented by chemical delivery agents. There is considerable interest in the development of non-viral vectors due to their decreased immunogenicity, higher specificity, ease of synthesis and greater flexibility for subsequent modulations. Dendrimers used as delivery vehicles offer many advantages, such as: nanoscale size, precise molecular weight, increased solubility, high load capacity, high bioavailability and low immunogenicity. The aim of the present work was to provide a comprehensive overview of the recent advances regarding the use of dendrimers as non-viral carriers in the GDEPT therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Macromolecular Functional Materials for Biomedical Purposes)
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35 pages, 9432 KiB  
Review
Functionalization of Metal and Carbon Nanoparticles with Potential in Cancer Theranostics
by Nicolò Mauro, Mara Andrea Utzeri, Paola Varvarà and Gennara Cavallaro
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3085; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26113085 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 3849
Abstract
Cancer theranostics is a new concept of medical approach that attempts to combine in a unique nanoplatform diagnosis, monitoring and therapy so as to provide eradication of a solid tumor in a non-invasive fashion. There are many available solutions to tackle cancer using [...] Read more.
Cancer theranostics is a new concept of medical approach that attempts to combine in a unique nanoplatform diagnosis, monitoring and therapy so as to provide eradication of a solid tumor in a non-invasive fashion. There are many available solutions to tackle cancer using theranostic agents such as photothermal therapy (PTT) and photodynamic therapy (PDT) under the guidance of imaging techniques (e.g., magnetic resonance—MRI, photoacoustic—PA or computed tomography—CT imaging). Additionally, there are several potential theranostic nanoplatforms able to combine diagnosis and therapy at once, such as gold nanoparticles (GNPs), graphene oxide (GO), superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) and carbon nanodots (CDs). Currently, surface functionalization of these nanoplatforms is an extremely useful protocol for effectively tuning their structures, interface features and physicochemical properties. This approach is much more reliable and amenable to fine adjustment, reaching both physicochemical and regulatory requirements as a function of the specific field of application. Here, we summarize and compare the most promising metal- and carbon-based theranostic tools reported as potential candidates in precision cancer theranostics. We focused our review on the latest developments in surface functionalization strategies for these nanosystems, or hybrid nanocomposites consisting of their combination, and discuss their main characteristics and potential applications in precision cancer medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Macromolecular Functional Materials for Biomedical Purposes)
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18 pages, 1932 KiB  
Review
Recent Advances in Nanotechnology for the Treatment of Melanoma
by Roberta Cassano, Massimo Cuconato, Gabriella Calviello, Simona Serini and Sonia Trombino
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 785; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26040785 - 03 Feb 2021
Cited by 41 | Viewed by 5710
Abstract
Melanoma is one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer, with few possibilities for therapeutic approaches, due to its multi-drug resistance and, consequently, low survival rate for patients. Conventional therapies for treatment melanoma include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy, which have [...] Read more.
Melanoma is one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer, with few possibilities for therapeutic approaches, due to its multi-drug resistance and, consequently, low survival rate for patients. Conventional therapies for treatment melanoma include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy, which have various side effects. For this reason, in recent years, pharmaceutical and biomedical research has focused on new sito-specific alternative therapeutic strategies. In this regard, nanotechnology offers numerous benefits which could improve the life expectancy of melanoma patients with very low adverse effects. This review aims to examine the latest advances in nanotechnology as an innovative strategy for treating melanoma. In particular, the use of different types of nanoparticles, such as vesicles, polymers, metal-based, carbon nanotubes, dendrimers, solid lipid, microneedles, and their combination with immunotherapies and vaccines will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Macromolecular Functional Materials for Biomedical Purposes)
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