Light-degradable hydrogels as dynamic triggers for gastrointestinal applications

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Science Advances  17 Jan 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 3, eaay0065
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay0065


Triggerable materials capable of being degraded by selective stimuli stand to transform our capacity to precisely control biomedical device activity and performance while reducing the need for invasive interventions. Here, we describe the development of a modular and tunable light-triggerable hydrogel system capable of interfacing with implantable devices. We apply these materials to two applications in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract: a bariatric balloon and an esophageal stent. We demonstrate biocompatibility and on-demand triggering of the material in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo. Moreover, we characterize performance of the system in a porcine large animal model with an accompanying ingestible LED. Light-triggerable hydrogels have the potential to be applied broadly throughout the GI tract and other anatomic areas. By demonstrating the first use of light-degradable hydrogels in vivo, we provide biomedical engineers and clinicians with a previously unavailable, safe, dynamically deliverable, and precise tool to design dynamically actuated implantable devices.

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