Conductive Polymer: A Smart Biomaterial for Tissue Engineering
Conductive polymers sometimes called as synthetic metals, combine electric properties of metals with the advantages of polymers through modification of ordinary organic conjugated polymer. Conductive polymers are actually carbon based polymers that are actually electronically active. These polymers are a promising bio-material and will prove helpful in tissue engineering. The versatile polymers can be synthesized into hydrogels which can be combined into composites and electro spun microfibers. These are biocompatible and biodegradable. The conductive nature of the generated cells or tissues can be stimulated which are further influenced after post synthesis and drugs bound in them are released. Considering the vast amount of possibilities that conductive polymers offer it is believed that they will revolutionize the world of tissue engineering. Apart from various other factors there are many more that are considered such as their bio-compatibility, conductivity, synthesis, bio-molecule doping and drug release application.
The current drug delivery system is effective at the controlled release of drugs but is limited to cell clusters rather than individual cells. The usage of conductive polymers in the areas of bio-analytical sciences is of immense interest since their biocompatibility opens up their usage in biosensor applications for continuous monitoring of drugs or metabolites in biological fluids. Moreover conductive polymers have been successfully used as bio-actuators. The phenomenon of change in volume of the polymers will help in electrical stimulation that is employed in the construction of biopolymers. These actuators have many features that make them ideal candidates for artificial muscles as they can be electrically monitored, require low voltage for actuation and have a large strain which is beneficial for linear, volumetric and bending actuators. Hydrophobicity may prove to be a limitation for conductive polymers, but with the advancement of bio-technology it is expected that these limitations will be reduced. The most commonly used conductive polymers in this case polypyrrole (PPy) and Polyaniline (PANI). Thus increased biomedical applications have propelled the market for conductive polymers
by formulating them for bio-sensors, drug delivery systems, bio-medical implants and tissue engineering.
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