Multiple degradable thermoplastics are being used for implant or other in vivo use in the medical industry. Polycaprolactone, polylactic acid, poly lactic-co-glycolic acid and polydioxanone are just four examples of polymers that will biodegrade when placed in the body through a hydrolysis reaction. The benefits of these polymers for biomedical applications depend on their degradation rates, properties during degradation, and the degradation compounds. Whereas there are fairly well established methods for assessing degradation rates and the resulting properties of the degrading polymer, determination of the degradation products can be more challenging. Often, researchers will perform in situ degradation studies, using a simulated environment such as phosphate buffered saline, enzymatic solutions, or similar, with the assumption that these in situ environments will result in the same degradation pathway as an in vivo environment.
CPG has developed assays that allow the identification and quantification of degradation products of biodegradable polymers from animal studies. En bloc tissue samples containing the device and surrounding tissue are analyzed for degradation products amongst the biological tissue. The results can then be compared to in vitro degradation samples to assess if the in vitro assay is faithfully generating the same degradation products as the in vivo test.
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