Reverse-engineered silk hydrogels for cell and drug delivery

Seib, F Philipp (2018) Reverse-engineered silk hydrogels for cell and drug delivery. Therapeutic Delivery, 9 (6). pp. 469-487. ISSN 2041-5990 (

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Silk is an important biopolymer for (bio)medical applications because of its unique and highly versatile structure and its robust clinical track record in human medicine. Silk can be processed into many material formats, including physically and chemically cross-linked hydrogels that have almost limitless applications ranging from tissue engineering to biomedical imaging and sensing. This concise review provides a detailed background of silk hydrogels, including silk structure–function relationships, biocompatibility and biodegradation, and it explores recent developments in silk hydrogel utilization, with specific reference to drug and cell delivery. We address common pitfalls and misconceptions while identifying emerging opportunities, including 3D printing.