Application of biomaterials in paediatric patients with complex chronic conditions and palliative care needs
The management of paediatric patients with complex chronic conditions and palliative care needs is a growing challenge in healthcare. Biomaterials, substances designed to interact with biological systems, have shown promising results in improving the quality of life and treatment of various conditions in these patients. Researchers from various institutions have been working on the development and application of innovative biomaterials to address the specific challenges faced by paediatric patients with complex chronic conditions and palliative care needs.
Approach and outcomes
One of the most promising approaches is the use of smart hydrogels in drug delivery. These hydrogels can release drugs in a controlled and sustained manner, reducing the frequency of doses and improving treatment adherence in paediatric patients with chronic conditions. A study published in the journal “Polymer” showed that the use of thermosensitive hydrogels for the administration of pain medication in children with terminal cancer resulted in controlled drug release and a decrease in pain intensity .
In the field of regenerative medicine, biomaterials are also being explored for the treatment of complex chronic conditions in paediatric patients. For example, researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a scaffold based on biodegradable polymers for tracheal tissue engineering in children with tracheal defects. This approach has shown promise in preclinical studies, with improvements in tracheal tissue regeneration and function .
In terms of palliative care needs, biomaterials can play a significant role in pain management and improving the quality of life. A study published in the “Journal of Pain and Symptom Management” explored the use of biodegradable microspheres for controlled release of analgesics in paediatric patients with advanced cancer. The results showed a decrease in pain intensity and an improvement in the quality of life of patients, suggesting that biomaterials could be a valuable tool in palliative pain management in paediatric patients .
 Hoare, T. R., & Kohane, D. S. (2008). Hydrogels in drug delivery: Progress and challenges. Polymer, [online] 1993-2007. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032386108000487
 Best, C. A., Pepper, V. K., Ohst, D., Bodnyk, K., Heuer, E., Onwuka, E. A., King, N., Strouse, R., Grischkan, J., Breuer, C. K., Johnson, J., & Chiang, T. (2018). Designing a tissue-engineered tracheal scaffold for preclinical evaluation. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, [online] 155-160. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0165587617305153
 Dussel, V., Orellana, L., Soto, N., Chen, K., Ullrich, Ch., Kang, T. I., Geyer, J. R., Feudtner, Ch., & Wolfe, J. (2015). Feasibility of Conducting a Palliative Care Randomized Controlled Trial in Children With Advanced Cancer: Assessment of the PediQUEST Study. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, [online], 1059-1069. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0885392415000597
Paediatrics, biomaterials, hydrogels, drug delivery, polymers, healthcare, medical devices, cancer