Use of hydrogels for medicine
Hydrogels can be used to mimic the extracellular matrix (which is in itself a hydrogel made up from cross-linked hydrophilic polymer network).
Particularly, human-made hydrogels can be cross-linked under mild conditions, which means hydrogels can encapsulate live cells[foyt2018]
The most challenging aspect of mimicking the extracellular matrix is that hydrogels are homogeneous, which means they can't replicate the complex structure of native tissues[@foyt2018Exploiting Advanced Hydrogel Technologies to Address Key Challenges in Regenerative Medicine]. This points to the challenges for the use of hydrogels in medicine.
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