DROPLET BASED MICROFLUIDICS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NOVEL BIOABSORBABLE IMMUNOMODULATORY MATERIAL WITH APPLICATIONS IN THE IMPLANTABLE MEDICAL DEVICE FIELD
Inflammation and the foreign body response (FBR) pose a major problem to the successful function of essentially “foreign” implanted medical devices such as vascular stents, heart valves, hip replacements, knee replacements, etc. Conventional implants are permanent and usually made from surgical grade stainless steel metal. Despite the efficacy of conventional materials, there is a need for non-permanent implant solutions. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) is a bioabsorbable material that is nontoxic and FDA approved for implantation. However, bioabsorbable materials such as PLGA can induce a distinct acute inflammatory immune response. To date, a highly successful solution to the prevention of the FBR to implanted materials has not been created. To circumvent this crucial problem, this dissertation describes the creation of novel a biomaterial by combining the bioabsorbable property of PLGA with the anti-inflammatory property of an immunomodulatory protein. This protein allows the biomaterial to be recognized as part of the body.
In this work, droplet based microfluidics was used as a platform to generate microspheres and microcapsules using single and double emulsion methods, respectively. The immunomodulatory protein is conjugated to the surface of the microspheres or encapsulated within microcapsules. Herein, microparticles were assessed to see whether the immunomodulatory protein can tolerize the host immune system to the foreign material and reduce/inhibit an inflammatory response to PLGA.