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      Stabilization of vaccines and antibiotics in silk and eliminating the cold chain

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          Abstract

          Sensitive biological compounds, such as vaccines and antibiotics, traditionally require a time-dependent "cold chain" to maximize therapeutic activity. This flawed process results in billions of dollars worth of viable drug loss during shipping and storage, and severely limits distribution to developing nations with limited infrastructure. To address these major limitations, we demonstrate self-standing silk protein biomaterial matrices capable of stabilizing labile vaccines and antibiotics, even at temperatures up to 60 °C over more than 6 months. Initial insight into the mechanistic basis for these findings is provided. Importantly, these findings suggest a transformative approach to the cold chain to revolutionize the way many labile therapeutic drugs are stored and utilized throughout the world.

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          Most cited references37

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          Silk as a Biomaterial.

          Silks are fibrous proteins with remarkable mechanical properties produced in fiber form by silkworms and spiders. Silk fibers in the form of sutures have been used for centuries. Recently regenerated silk solutions have been used to form a variety of biomaterials, such as gels, sponges and films, for medical applications. Silks can be chemically modified through amino acid side chains to alter surface properties or to immobilize cellular growth factors. Molecular engineering of silk sequences has been used to modify silks with specific features, such as cell recognition or mineralization. The degradability of silk biomaterials can be related to the mode of processing and the corresponding content of beta sheet crystallinity. Several primary cells and cell lines have been successfully grown on different silk biomaterials to demonstrate a range of biological outcomes. Silk biomaterials are biocompatible when studied in vitro and in vivo. Silk scaffolds have been successfully used in wound healing and in tissue engineering of bone, cartilage, tendon and ligament tissues.
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            Microfluidic diagnostic technologies for global public health.

            The developing world does not have access to many of the best medical diagnostic technologies; they were designed for air-conditioned laboratories, refrigerated storage of chemicals, a constant supply of calibrators and reagents, stable electrical power, highly trained personnel and rapid transportation of samples. Microfluidic systems allow miniaturization and integration of complex functions, which could move sophisticated diagnostic tools out of the developed-world laboratory. These systems must be inexpensive, but also accurate, reliable, rugged and well suited to the medical and social contexts of the developing world.
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              The inflammatory responses to silk films in vitro and in vivo.

              Silks have a long history of biomedical use as sutures. Silk can be purified, chemically modified to attach RGD sequences and processed into highly porous scaffolds for tissue engineering. We report biocompatibility studies of silk films (with or without covalently bound RGD) that were seeded with bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and (a) cultured in vitro with human MSC or (b) seeded with autologous rat MSC and implanted in vivo. Controls for in vitro studies included tissue culture plastic (TCP; negative control), TCP with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the cell culture medium (positive control), and collagen films; controls for in vivo studies included collagen, PLA and TCP. After 9 h of culture, the expression of the pro-inflammatory Interleukin 1 beta (IL-1beta) and inflammatory cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) in human MSC were comparable for silk, collagen and TCP. After 30 and 96 h, gene expression of IL-1beta and COX-2 in MSC returned to the baseline (pre-seeding) levels. These data were corroborated by measuring IL-1beta and prostaglandin E2 levels in culture medium. The rate of cell proliferation was higher on silk films than either on collagen or TCP. In vivo, films made of silk, collagen or PLA were seeded with rat MSCs, implanted intramuscularly in rats and harvested after 6 weeks. Histological and immunohistochemical evaluation of silk explants revealed the presence of circumferentially oriented fibroblasts, few blood vessels, macrophages at the implant-host interface, and the absence of giant cells. Inflammatory tissue reaction was more conspicuous around collagen films and even more around PLA films when compared to silk. These data suggest that (a) purified degradable silk is biocompatible and (b) the in vitro cell culture model (hMSC seeded and cultured on biomaterial films) gave inflammatory responses that were comparable to those observed in vivo.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                July 24 2012
                July 24 2012
                July 24 2012
                July 09 2012
                : 109
                : 30
                : 11981-11986
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.1206210109
                3409735
                22778443
                5200adf7-c9ad-400d-9325-0471699f6120
                © 2012
                History

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