Stroke is a devastating disease for which no clinical treatment exists to regenerate lost tissue. Strategies for brain repair in animal models of stroke include the delivery of drug or cell-based therapeutics; however, the complex anatomy and functional organization of the brain presents many challenges. Biomaterials may alleviate some of these challenges by providing a scaffold, localizing the therapy to the site of action, and/or modulating cues to brain cells. Here, the challenges associated with delivery of therapeutics to the brain and the biomaterial strategies used to overcome these challenges are described. For example, innovative hydrogel delivery systems have been designed to provide sustained trophic factor delivery for endogenous repair and to support transplanted cell survival and integration. Novel treatments, such as electrical stimulation of transplanted cells and the delivery of factors for the direct reprogramming of astrocytes into neurons, may be further enhanced by biomaterial delivery systems. Ultimately, improved clinical translation will be achieved by combining clinically relevant therapies with biomaterials strategies.
Tuladhar, A., Payne, S. L., & Shoichet, M. S. (2018, March 12). Harnessing the potential of biomaterials for brain repair after stroke. Frontiers in Materials. Frontiers Media S.A. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmats.2018.00014