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Biocompatible Hydrogel with Cartilage Equivalent Mechanical Properties

Value Proposition

Cartilage damage and cartilage-related diseases are the most common cause of disability in the US today. Current strategies for cartilage restoration are costly, have high failure rates, and prolonged rehabilitation times. Hydrogels are a new technology with broad applications, and are currently being developed as synthetic cartilage replacements. Current hydrogels, however, either serve as cellular scaffolds to promote tissue integration, with limited weight-bearing potential resulting in long recovery times, or serve as synthetic weight-bearing cartilage replacements, with limited tissue integration resulting in high long-term failure rates.


The Triple-Network Hydrogel, composed of bacterial cellulose, poly(acrylamide-methyl propyl sulfonic acid) and polydimethylacrylamide (BC-PAMPS-PDMAAm), has both cartilage equivalent mechanical properties and biocompatibility. The inventors have developed a method to carefully adjust the proportions of BC to PAMPS-PDMAAm, which will enable them to test multiple different formulations of the hydrogel and test which formulation has mechanical properties most similar to that of cartilage. The 6% BC-PAMPS-PDMAAm hydrogel has already surpassed cartilage in terms of compressive strength, and other mechanical properties are currently being evaluated.

Other applications

Sport horses (a $39 billion industry in the US alone) frequently suffer traumatic cartilage injury yet there are few treatment options currently available. Technology that would enable rapid recovery and immediate weight bearing would be highly sought after in the equine veterinary industry. Furthermore, regulatory considerations in the veterinary market are less stringent in comparison to the patient market.


  • The Triple-Network Hydrogel would allow patients’ faster recovery times, due to excellent load-bearing capabilities, and low long-term failure rates, due to effective cellular integration.
  • Furthermore, this hydrogel is composed of readily available materials and would not require any ex vivo autologous cell culture, which would enable an easily produced, broadly applicable, and cost-effective treatment strategy.

Duke File (IDF) Number



  • Wiley, Benjamin
  • Yang, Feichen "Feichen"
  • Yang, Feichen "Feichen"


    • Patent Number: 62/582,505
    • Country: United States of America

For more information please contact


Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

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