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Synthesis, characterization and development of new biocompatible polyamides with controlled biodegradability

The objectives are to obtain new polyamides and to determine their properties in order to decide on further development for practical use as resorbable biomedical materials. The new polyamides are copolymers of glycine and related amino acids. Their molecular structure may be intermediate between proteins and traditional nylons, with an adequate balance of biocompatibility, biodegradation and mechanical properties.
Nylons (1,n-NHCH2NHCO(CH2)(n-2)CO) with n=6,8,10 have been obtained. Biological tests show their biocompatibility. Their unique molecular structure has been determined by structural methods, mainly X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy. Thermal analysis shows that decomposition starts at 210 C. Therefore more methylenes are required in the repeat unit in order to obtain thermally processable polymers.
Copolymers from 2/n omega-amino acids (-NHCH2CONH(CH2)n-1CO-) have been studied. Random copolymers of glycine and omega-aminoacids (n=6,12) have been synthesised by the active esters method. Characterisation is in progress. Biocompatibility appears to be different as a function of composition.
Copolymers of glycine and aminoisobutyric acid have been prepared. Syntheses of sequential copolymers are in progress. Molecular mechanics calculations are used to predict their conformation.

Some of the new polymers seem to have good mechanical properties. At least 3 different materials combine some promising properties with good biocompatibility. These could be used mainly as substitutional materials for surgical applications such as suture lines, transcutaneous devices, drug delivery systems and perhaps synthetic cartilages.

Reported by

Universidad Politecnica de Cataluna
Diagonal 647
08028 Barcelona
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