ASTRID - Accompagnement spécifique des travaux de recherches et d’innovation défense

Hydrogels from biocompatible polymers for actinide decontamination – DECAP

Submission summary

The DECAP project is focused on the development of innovative hydrogels prepared from polymeric materials for external actinide sweet decontamination. This breakthrough exploratory research project will bring major benefits in both the field of defense, and civil and industrial research.
The objective is to prepare new chelating macromolecules able to complex radionuclides with the controlled synthesis of complexing copolymers. The latter are based on poly(e-caprolactone)s (PCLs) functionalized with bis-phosphonic acid groups, able to efficiently complex radionuclides, and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG). They will lead to innovative hydrogels allowing treating very rapidly, and efficiently a contact contamination without wound, without diffusion under the skin. It is important to mention that PCLs and PEG polymers are both biocompatible and approved by the FDA. These hydrogels, formulated and characterized by rheology, are adapted for their use in a typical field environment, without spreading out over the skin and without the need of rinsing with water. So, they will be more efficient, easy to carry, and final waste will be minimized.

A consortium has been worked out, associating four academic partners, selected for their background in specific areas: synthesis and characterization of biopolymers, and phosphorus-based materials, partitioning chemistry, materials dealing with nuclear concerns, study of interfacial phenomena at the liquid-liquid and solid-liquid interface, and formulation and physic-chemical study of polymers for pharmaceutical applications. This appropriate consortium will efficiently interact to carry out the following different stages: (i) elaboration of e-caprolactone monomers, judiciously functionalized by bis-phosphonated ester groups, precursors of bis-phosphonic acid functions, (ii) synthesis of biocompatible bis-phosphonic acid-based poly(e-caprolactone)s, (iii) formulation of hydrogels based on copolymers determined as biocompatible and study of these hydrogels (rheological properties, cutaneous penetration), (iv) efficient complexation of radionuclides that we can recover in nuclear accidents (in nuclear power plants or during dismantling) or in terrorist attacks against military or civilian. First, we will study uranium (VI) and thorium (IV) that are valuable components as they are easy to manipulate to establish proofs of concept. These two elements are good models to “mimic” neptunium (V) and plutonium (IV), respectively, that are much more dangerous and that we will also study for some specific experiments.

This project perfectly fits with the requirements of thematic 7 “Biologie et Biotechnologies” dealing with current and emerging nuclear risks of deliberate or accidental origin. It deals with sub-topic “decontamination”, in particular corporal decontamination (external).

Project coordination

Vincent DARCOS (Institut des Biomolécules Max Mousseron)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


IGPS Institut Galien Paris-Sud
ICSM Institut de Chimie Séparative de Marcoule
IBMM Institut des Biomolécules Max Mousseron
ICGM Institut de chimie moléculaire et des matériaux - Institut Charles Gerhardt Montpellier

Help of the ANR 299,160 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2018 - 36 Months

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