Injectable biodegradable hydrogels: progress and challenges
Over the past decades, injectable hydrogels have emerged as promising biomaterials because of their biocompatibility, excellent permeability, minimal invasion, and easy integration into surgical procedures. These systems provide an effective and convenient way to administer a wide variety of bioactive agents such as proteins, genes, and even living cells. Additionally, they can be designed to be degradable and eventually cleared from the body after completing their missions. Given their unique characteristics, injectable biodegradable hydrogels have been actively explored as drug reservoir systems for sustained release of bioactive agents and temporary extracellular matrices for tissue engineering. This review provides an overview of state-of-the-art strategies towards constructing a rational design of injectable biodegradable hydrogels for protein drug delivery and tissue engineering. We also discuss the use of injectable hydrogels for gene delivery systems and biomedical adhesives.