Tissue engineering has been very popular research field in the last 20 years, and it applies the principles of biology and engineering to the development of functional substitutes for damaged tissues. A variety of materials have been investigated for being utilized in this area. Hydrogel materials attained great interest due to their unique capabilities. Poly (2-hydoxyethyl methacrylate), pHEMA, demonstrated excellent performance in many applications such as ophthalmic implants and drug delivery. This study was to the development of porous PHEMA composite hydrogels for the applications in tissue engineering.
Porous PHEMA composite hydrogels was synthesized through a free radical polymerization in the presence of water. The relationship between the pore size and mechanical properties of the hydrogels was first studied. The bioactivity of the PHEMA and PHEMA composite hydrogels were evaluated though a calcification study and cell activities study. The delivery of biomolecules from the selected PHEMA hydrogels was also investigated.