Nanostructured hybrid hydrogels: injectable multifunctional hydrogels for bone regeneration
International Cooperation Project | Project funded by Era-Net’s EuroNanoMed program
2011-01-19 to 2014-06-30
Partner: Universidade do Porto – FEUP, Universidade do Minho, Universidade de Trás-os Montes e Alto Douro, Universidade do Porto – ICETA
The present project aimed at developing a novel strategy for osteoregenerative medicine based upon a tissue engineering approach, which encompasses principles of cell transplantation, material science and bioengineering. Osteoregenerative therapies benefit from minimal surgical procedures which decrease patient morbidity. From this perspective, the use of bioactive injectable scaffolds has recently become of great interest, to a large extent due to the minimal invasive manner through which they can be implanted in the human body, associated to improved patient compliance. Other advantages are lower risk of infection and reduced scar formation. The injectable scaffolds share the same general advantages as those of the usual scaffold with the additional benefit of being able to fill irregular and complex shaped defects, avoiding the need for customized prefabrication, being able to deliver biological entities (drugs and cells) locally, advantages not offered by autografts, alografts and other synthetic grafts. These biological substitutes for regenerative medicine should be able to restore and maintain normal tissue function, considering the basic structure of a biological tissue, the rigorous cell arrangement throughout a complex molecular scaffold and the extracellular matrix (ECM) with an integrated vascular system for oxygen and nutrient supply. These tissue engineered scaffolds replicate biological and mechanical function of ECM providing tissues with appropriate architecture for in vitro cell culture, as well as in vivo tissue regeneration. Thus, the main goal of the current project was to develop an “extracellular matrix-like” 3D scaffold of polymeric injectable hydrogel, incorporating human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) isolated from the Wharton jelly of the umbilical cord, which stabilizes Bonelike® granules in a bone defect area. The project aims to characterize and attain an extensive comprehension of the contribution of each component for tissue regeneration.