Short-Term Versus Long-Term Challenges in Functional Biomaterials Interfacing Living Systems


Functional biomaterials (FBMs) have been increasingly adopted as a key element in all sorts of biomedical devices for innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions, as they can be tailored for specific applications while being highly tolerated by living systems. Thanks to their versatility, FBMs have been used as vehicles for targeted pharmaceutical delivery to address cancer and tissue/bone degenerations, engineered as scaffolds for musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and nerve regeneration, or employed as electrode coatings to enhance sensing/modulation of specific signals and stability, as well as biodegradable encapsulations/substrates for the attenuation of host tissue responses.

Tailoring biomaterial properties for such a plethora of applications is a challenge that requires a merging of knowledge across chemistry, pharmacy, biology, physics and engineering.

Clinical applications often involve opposing requirements in terms of FBMs' lifetimes. In some cases, the FBMs should be stable and efficiently interact with the biological environment for many years after implantation, while in others they may need to be safely biodegraded or gradually bio-absorbed once their restorative or delivery functions have been accomplished. Sometimes a combination of the two approaches is desirable.

The scope of this Research Topic covers the design and synthesis of FBMs alone or integrated on implantable devices and their biomedical applications, with a focus on the specific properties they must possess for their successful translation in specific clinical applications for acute therapy/diagnosis or chronic treatment.

The Research Topic is open to both original research and perspective papers, as well as review articles. Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

• Biomaterials and bio-devices for drug delivery/delivery systems
• Biomaterials for cancer diagnosis and therapy
• Biomaterials and bio-devices for neuroprosthetics
• Biomaterials for imaging: clinical diagnostic and research tools
• Biosensor and bioelectronics
• Tissue Engineering Scaffolds
• Nanoparticle-based therapy and sensing
• Toxicology and risk assessment of materials used in biological interfaces