Hydrogels are being investigated for mammalian cell immobilization. Their material properties can be engineered for biocompatibility, selective permeability, mechanical and chemical stability, and other requirements as specified by the application including uniform cell distribution and a given membrane thickness or mechanical strength. These aqueous gels are attractive for analytical and tissue engineering applications and can be used with immobilization in therapies for various diseases as well as to generate bioartificial organs. Recent advances have broadened the use of hydrogel cell immobilization in biomedical fields. To provide an overview of available technology, this review surveys the current developments in immobilization of mammalian cells in hydrogels. Discussions cover hydrogel requirements for use in adhesion, matrix entrapment, and microencapsulation, the respective processing methods, as well as current applications. (c) 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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