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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P001114/1
Title: Engineering growth factor microenvironments - a new therapeutic paradigm for regenerative medicine
Principal Investigator: Salmeron-Sanchez, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Rose, Professor FRA Smith, Professor G Dalby, Professor MJ
Mountford, Dr JC Cooper, Professor J Stevens, Professor M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Clyde Biosciences Ltd Georgia Institute of Technology Locate Therapeutics Limited
NHS Scottish National Blood Transfusion Serv Taragenyx
University of California Los Angeles
Department: School of Engineering
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: Programme Grants
Starts: 01 October 2016 Ends: 31 December 2022 Value (£): 3,661,144
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomaterials Materials Characterisation
Materials Synthesis & Growth Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
Tissue Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
06 Jun 2016 HT Programme Grant Interview Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Growth factors are molecules within our body that participate in many physiological process that are key during development as they control stem cell function. These molecules thus have the potential to drive the regeneration of tissues in a broad range of medical conditions, including in musculoskeletal (bone repair), haematological (bone marrow transplantation) and cardiovascular (infarction, heart attack) diseases. Growth factors are currently produced commercially and are used regularly in clinical applications. However, they are very power cell signalling molecules and dose is critical as balance between effect and safety has to be considered. To date the use of growth factors in regenerative medicine has been only partially successful and even controversial. The growth factors are rapidly broken down and cleared by the body. This makes prolonged delivery (as is required to effect repair) a problem and typically higher than wanted doses are administered to get around this. While their help in regeneration is undoubted, collateral side effects can be catastrophic e.g. tumour formation.

We have developed new technology that directly addresses these concerns as it uses materials (that can be topically implanted) to deliver low, but effective, growth factor doses; this programme is about the safe use of growth factors in clinical applications. This will not only reduce risks for patients who currently receive growth factor treatments, but will open up therapies that can include co-transplantation with stem cells to a wider range of patients as doctors would not have to keep these therapies back for cases of most pressing need. This increased use would minimise costs as growth factors are very expensive and reduced dose would save money per treatment.

Our approach is unique and this programme grant will allow us to enhance the UK's world leading position through innovative bioengineering. We know that stem cells have huge regenerative potential and that growth factors provide exquisite stem cell control - both are currently untapped. We will engineer new materials to enable growth factor technology, and critically stem cell technologies, where traditional approaches are falling very short of the mark.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk