Does your knee joint bedevil you with constant pain? A groundbreaking superglue–hydrogel–has entered the market that holds the remedy to your eternal pain. From now on, healthcare professionals have a revolutionary tool at their disposal that could help them in knee surgeries by adhering to the injured body parts and later conveying repair cells to stimulate tissue regeneration.

Wide range of applications and advantages of hydrogel over conventional products and surge in investment in research and development to develop more advanced compounds have boosted the demand for hydrogel.

According to Allied Market Research, the global hydrogel market is estimated to garner $27.2 billion by 2022, with CAGR of 6.3% during the forecast period. In addition, increase in R&D activities to develop more enhanced hydrogels has supplemented the growth of the market.

Hydrogel-based electrodes for brain implants
Hydrogel is a chemical and physical polymer network that holds the potential to retain large quantities of liquid in aqueous conditions without losing their dimensional stability.

Recently, the Materials + Technology Group at Department of Chemical Engineering and Environment of the UPV/EHU's Faculty of Engineering used starch–that was never used before for creating hydrogel–portrayed biological, physical, and chemical properties suitable for manufacturing hydrogels.

The team created the hydrogel to use it in neural interfaces as conventional electrodes of neural interfaces are usually made up of platinum or gold, which are rigid and require conductive polymer coating to increase flexibility. On the other hand, hydrogel fulfills every requirement of an electrode, providing necessary electrical properties.

Researchers used extracts of salvia to make them stabilized in an aqueous medium. Moreover, the use of salvia helps to render the graphene stable in water, making hydrogel more stable. The team used “click chemistry” to produce the hydrogen. According to the researchers, this procedure does not need catalysts during high-performance chemical reactions and generate by-products. This research is regarded as a breakthrough in the medical field as it can be widely used due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Hydrogels that can heal wounds
Scientists at the University of New Hampshire have developed a novel, low-cost, and easy-to-develop hydrogel that could aid wounds heal at a faster rate. This research is now considered as a boon to those patients who suffer from chronic health issues, especially diabetes.

Patients with diabetes would know how difficult healing a wound could be. Most of the time when injectable hydrogels are inserted to irregularly shaped wounds to help from a temporary matrix and keep the wound steady till the cells rejuvenate. However, conventional hydrogels are not that sufficiently porous and refuse to permit adjoining cells to travel through to aid it to mend.

In a recently published research, scientists analyzed how to make hydrogel macroporous by combining gelatin microgels with an enzyme known as microbial transglutaminase. Gelatin acts as a collagen-derived natural protein, a connective tissue in the body. Assembling these components created a novel hydrogel having large pores for adjacent cells to transfer into the wound for repair. Moreover, this formulation is injectable, and it has observed to help increase the movement of tissue cells inside the hydrogel, which being regarded as a major development in wound healing.
Hydrogel made out of water

Scientists at the research firm, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), recently developed a hydrogel that is made up of about 90% of water, which enables it to adhere to soft tissues, and helps damaged tissues to heal.

In human anatomy, several body tissues such as cartilage and meniscus have almost no blood supply and if damaged, they are unable to recover themselves. By injecting hydrogel-containing repair cells into the damaged area, it is possible to help stimulate the tissue regeneration. However, the conventional hydrogels do not help stimulation as pressure from body’s movements and rapid flow of bodily fluids.

Dominique Pioletti, leader of two research groups at EPFL, have successfully created a biocompatible hydrogel, which is made up of 90% of water and can withstand excessive mechanical stress and extensive deformation, eliminating the need for a separate binding process.

According to a research published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces journal, the developed hydrogel is a mixture of several materials consisting of a fiber network and double-network matrix, which preserves the material’s adhesive capacity. Pioletti, explained, “The double-structure helps distribute incoming mechanical energy throughout the hydrogel. Moreover, the material shows adhesion improvement when it is stretched or compressed.”

Such novel inventions in the hydrogel market have created lucrative opportunities for the research firms that are in this business and hope to improve the capabilities of hydrogels in future. Thus, it is sure that in the coming years, healthcare professionals will be equipped with more adhesive and enhanced hydrogels and the concept of biocompatibility would get redefined with each invention.

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Author's Bio: 

I am Srushti helwande. My keen interest in reading and writing. I forayed into the field of writing due to my love for words and the urge to do something different. I have been a part of the content resource team here in Allied Market Research. We have a dedicated team for content development wherein, we coordinate with the Market Analysts and create a precise content. I am personally involved in writing content for user engagement. I owe a responsibility to make sure the content is rich and user-centric. Allied Market Research has given me the chance to gain knowledge about different subjects.