Researchers are adapting a chemical compound used in liquid crystal display technology for TVs into a new type of polymer that can be used for drug delivery. And their goal is to turn a mountain of waste material into a biomedical treasure trove.
A team at the University of York took polyvinyl-alcohol (PVA) and processed it in a way that should make it an efficient drug delivery vehicle that can slip through the body's biological barriers. They first heated the compound and then cooled it before dehydrating it with ethanol, making it into a "mesoporous material."
"Now we have gone a step further by enhancing its anti-microbial properties through the addition of silver nanoparticles," said Dr. Andrew Hunt of the York Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence. "The result being that it can destroy bacterial infections such as E.coli. Potentially, it could be used in hospital cleaning products to help to reduce infections."
This isn't the first biomedical use that's been found for PVA. Researchers have also been exploring the uses PVA could have in creating scaffolding that could be used for regenerating tissue. Much of the work is being funded by the UK government's Technology Strategy Board.
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