Each year, approximately 30,000 people in the United States experience a ruptured brain aneurysm. A current treatment is endovascular therapy, which use coils and/or stents to divert blood flow. poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAAm) is a thermo-responsive polymer that remains a liquid during injection into the human body and solidifies in situ. The goal of this research is to study pNIPAAm-based polymers as liquid embolic agents for the occlusion of aneurysms. It is predicted that there will be a lower risk of migration and aneurysm recanalization as opposed to platinum coils or stents.
Ultrasound-enhanced polymer degradation is used to improve the quality and rate of polymer degradation and the polymer’s ability to release encapsulated substances. The goal of this research is to study how drug delivery methods can be improved by allowing the enclosed drug(s) travel to targeted areas in a controlled manner and by improving the release rate. Using ultrasound-enhanced polymer degradation on thermoreversible polymers containing a model drug, drug delivery release rate can be monitored by observing phase changes due to exposure to high frequency sound waves of ultrasounds. Future studies can be broadened to other polymers.