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Hydrogels have gained significant attention as ideal delivery vehicles for protein drugs. However, the use of hydrogels for protein delivery has been restricted because their porous structures inevitably cause a premature leakage of encapsulated proteins.
PEG Hydrogels in Biomedical Applications
A simple yet effective approach was recently reported to regulate the protein release kinetics of hydrogels through the creation of microstructures, which serve as a reservoir, releasing their payloads in a controlled manner. Microstructured dextran hydrogels enable burst-free sustained release of PEGylated interferon over 3 months without compromising its bioactivity.
These hydrogels substantially extend the circulation half-life of PEGylated interferon, allowing for less frequent dosing in a humanized mouse model of hepatitis C. This could be a very valuable method for the development of sustained protein delivery systems for a broad range of pharmaceutical and biomedical applications.