Advanced Biomaterials and Devices in Medicine
June 2017, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 16–20
Biomaterials and regenerative medicine in the treatment of cancer
Department for Oral, Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, University Hospital Frankfurt, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Department of Biomaterials, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
* Corresponding author: Prof. Charles James Kirkpatrick, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cancer continues to be a field of medical research and practice demanding complex and expensive forms of therapy, many of which still involve the systemic administration of chemotherapeutic agents. This latter form of treatment carries with it many complications and unwanted side-effects. Unfortunately, up until now relatively few research groups in the biomaterials field have focussed their attention on oncology, with the result that a number of innovative developments, which could benefit cancer patients, have remained in the realm of non-oncological regenerative medicine. Of special interest for oncology is the progress which has been made in the development of interactive and responsive biomaterials, as these can be tuned to release signal molecules or therapeutic agents in response to a local microenvironment. This strategy has the double advantage of local release of anti-cancer agents and at the same time modulation of the healing response in the affected tissues. To achieve such functionality many advances, especially in polymer chemistry, but also in ceramics and metals, have led to the development of suitable targeted biomaterials. This has been greatly assisted by innovations in nanotechnology, including the versatility of core-shell nanoparticles for nanomedicine. For the latter a number of in vitro models, especially of barrier systems in the human body have been devised as models for targeted therapy. Moreover, modern biodegradable, responsive hydrogels could be used along with complex models for tumour biology, such as three-dimensional (3D) spheroid culture systems, which can be applied to investigate, for example, the processes of invasion and the role of inflammation in cancer. The necessity for suitable models to address biomechanical aspects represents a further issue of importance in oncological research and combines the expertise of both physics and biology. Finally, the complex field of mechanobiology can only be successfully addressed by interdisciplinary research activity.
Keywords: cancer, biomaterials, regenerative medicine, 3D-models, nanomedicine