Current treatment methods for cerebral aneurysms are providing life-saving measures for patients suffering from these blood vessel wall protrusions; however, the drawbacks present unfortunate circumstances in the invasive procedure or with efficient occlusion of the aneurysms. With the advancement of medical devices, liquid-to-solid gelling materials that could be delivered endovascularly have gained interest. The development of these systems stems from the need to circumvent surgical methods and the requirement for improved occlusion of aneurysms to prevent recanalization and potential complications. The work presented herein reports on a liquid-to-solid gelling material, which undergoes gelation via dual mechanisms. Using a temperature-responsive polymer, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (poly(NIPAAm), the gelling system can transition from a solution at low temperatures to a gel at body temperature (physical gelation). Additionally, by conjugating reactive functional groups onto the polymers, covalent cross-links can be formed via chemical reaction between the two moieties (chemical gelation). The advantage of this gelling system comprises of its water-based properties as well as the ability of the physical and chemical gelation to occur within physiological conditions. By developing the polymer gelling system in a ground-up approach via synthesis, its added benefit is the capability of modifying the properties of the system as needed for particular applications, in this case for embolization of cerebral aneurysms. The studies provided in this doctoral work highlight the synthesis, characterization and testing of these polymer gelling systems for occlusion of aneurysms. Conducted experiments include thermal, mechanical, structural and chemical characterization, as well as analysis of swelling, degradation, kinetics, cytotoxicity, in vitro glass models and in vivo swine study. Data on thermoresponsive poly(NIPAAm) indicated that the phase transition it undertakes comes as a result of the polymer chains associating as temperature is increased. Poly(NIPAAm) was functionalized with thiols and vinyls to provide for added chemical cross-linking. By combining both modes of gelation, physical and chemical, a gel with reduced creep flow and increased strength was developed. Being waterborne, the gels demonstrated excellent biocompatibility and were easily delivered via catheters and injected within aneurysms, without undergoing degradation. The dual gelling polymer systems demonstrated potential in use as embolic agents for cerebral aneurysm embolization.
- A simultaneous physically and chemically gelling polymer system for endovascular embolization of cerebral aneurysms
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by Hanin H. Bearat