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      Protein-Based Fiber Materials in Medicine: A Review


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          Fibrous materials have garnered much interest in the field of biomedical engineering due to their high surface-area-to-volume ratio, porosity, and tunability. Specifically, in the field of tissue engineering, fiber meshes have been used to create biomimetic nanostructures that allow for cell attachment, migration, and proliferation, to promote tissue regeneration and wound healing, as well as controllable drug delivery. In addition to the properties of conventional, synthetic polymer fibers, fibers made from natural polymers, such as proteins, can exhibit enhanced biocompatibility, bioactivity, and biodegradability. Of these proteins, keratin, collagen, silk, elastin, zein, and soy are some the most common used in fiber fabrication. The specific capabilities of these materials have been shown to vary based on their physical properties, as well as their fabrication method. To date, such fabrication methods include electrospinning, wet/dry jet spinning, dry spinning, centrifugal spinning, solution blowing, self-assembly, phase separation, and drawing. This review serves to provide a basic knowledge of these commonly utilized proteins and methods, as well as the fabricated fibers’ applications in biomedical research.

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          Fabrication of novel biomaterials through molecular self-assembly.

          Two complementary strategies can be used in the fabrication of molecular biomaterials. In the 'top-down' approach, biomaterials are generated by stripping down a complex entity into its component parts (for example, paring a virus particle down to its capsid to form a viral cage). This contrasts with the 'bottom-up' approach, in which materials are assembled molecule by molecule (and in some cases even atom by atom) to produce novel supramolecular architectures. The latter approach is likely to become an integral part of nanomaterials manufacture and requires a deep understanding of individual molecular building blocks and their structures, assembly properties and dynamic behaviors. Two key elements in molecular fabrication are chemical complementarity and structural compatibility, both of which confer the weak and noncovalent interactions that bind building blocks together during self-assembly. Using natural processes as a guide, substantial advances have been achieved at the interface of nanomaterials and biology, including the fabrication of nanofiber materials for three-dimensional cell culture and tissue engineering, the assembly of peptide or protein nanotubes and helical ribbons, the creation of living microlenses, the synthesis of metal nanowires on DNA templates, the fabrication of peptide, protein and lipid scaffolds, the assembly of electronic materials by bacterial phage selection, and the use of radiofrequency to regulate molecular behaviors.
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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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              Biomedical Applications of Biodegradable Polymers.

              Utilization of polymers as biomaterials has greatly impacted the advancement of modern medicine. Specifically, polymeric biomaterials that are biodegradable provide the significant advantage of being able to be broken down and removed after they have served their function. Applications are wide ranging with degradable polymers being used clinically as surgical sutures and implants. In order to fit functional demand, materials with desired physical, chemical, biological, biomechanical and degradation properties must be selected. Fortunately, a wide range of natural and synthetic degradable polymers has been investigated for biomedical applications with novel materials constantly being developed to meet new challenges. This review summarizes the most recent advances in the field over the past 4 years, specifically highlighting new and interesting discoveries in tissue engineering and drug delivery applications.

                Author and article information

                Nanomaterials (Basel)
                Nanomaterials (Basel)
                22 June 2018
                July 2018
                : 8
                : 7
                : 457
                [1 ]Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA; defratesk6@ 123456students.rowan.edu (K.G.D.); moorer1@ 123456students.rowan.edu (R.M.); ling8@ 123456students.rowan.edu (G.L.)
                [2 ]Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA; borgesij5@ 123456students.rowan.edu (J.B.); beachley@ 123456rowan.edu (V.B.)
                [3 ]Department of Mechanical Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA; mulderigt9@ 123456students.rowan.edu
                [4 ]Department of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ 08028, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: hu@ 123456rowan.edu ; Tel.: +1-856-256-4860; Fax: +1-856-256-4478

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                Author information
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 07 May 2018
                : 20 June 2018

                protein,nanofibers,biomaterials fabrication,medicine,tissue engineering,wound healing,drug delivery


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