Injectable Silk Foams for the Treatment of Cervical Insufficiency.
Abstract: Preterm birth
is the leading cause of neonatal mortality, resulting in over 4,000 deaths each year. A
significant risk factor for preterm birth is cervical insufficiency, the weakening and
subsequent deformation of cervical tissue. Cervical insufficiency is both detectable and
treatable but current treatments are lacking. The most common approach requires multiple
invasive procedures. ... read moreThis work investigates the injection of silk foams, a
minimally-invasive method for supporting cervical tissue. Silk offers many advantages
for use as a biomaterial including strength, versatility, and biocompatibility.
Injectable silk foams will minimize patient discomfort while also providing more
targeted and personalized treatment. A battery of mechanical testing was undertaken to
determine silk foam response under physiologically relevant loading and environmental
conditions. Mechanical testing was paired with analysis of foam morphology and structure
that illustrated the effects of injection on pore geometry and size. Biological response
to silk foams was evaluated using an in vitro degradation study and subcutaneous in vivo
implantation in a mouse model. Results showed that foams exceeded the mechanical
requirements for stiffening cervical tissue, although the current injection process
limits foam size. Injection was shown to cause measurable but localized foam
deformation. This work indicates that silk foams are a feasible treatment option for
cervical insufficiency but challenges remain with foam
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.
Advisor: Gary Leisk.
Committee: Anil Saigal, Michael House, and David Kaplan.
Keywords: Mechanical engineering, Materials Science, and Biomedical engineering.read less