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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T000457/1
Title: Bioactive polysaccharide-based hydrogels for growth factors delivery during tissue repair.
Principal Investigator: Gonzalez-Garcia, Dr C
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Engineering
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 September 2019 Ends: 31 August 2022 Value (£): 276,854
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomaterials Biophysics
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Jul 2019 EPSRC Physical Sciences - July 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Pathological conditions, including non-union bone defects, skin lesions, neurological disorders and inflammatory processes during cancer development are growing in occurrence due to an aging population. These problems are debilitating, costly and current approaches have limited success in alleviating suffering. The controlled delivery of biological molecules, such as growth factors (GFs) - proteins that orchestrate our development and hold the capacity to stimulate cellular growth and differentiation and that could thus drive regeneration - could provide potent tissue engineering strategies to promote tissue development and repair. However, the soluble administration of these proteins usually implies their delivery at high doses, which produces undesired, potentially serious/fatal systemic effects limiting their clinical use. In this proposal we will develop a new hydrogel, based on the acemannan polysaccharide - main bioactive component from the inner leaves of Aloe Vera - that will act as a bioactive carrier for the efficient and local delivery of GFs for tissue engineering applications. As a hydrogel, this natural carrier will increase the retention of the GFs within the healing site for a sufficient period to allow cells to migrate, proliferate and differentiate. Moreover, the inherent biological activity of the carrier (e.g. anti-inflammatory properties, antiseptic functions and potential to promote vascularisation, stimulate osteogenic differentiation), together with the released GFs, will provide a synergistic effect that will allow ultra-low dose GF delivery, several orders of magnitude lower than the ones used in current clinical technologies. Thus, this strategy will significantly improve societal health by increasing regenerative potential while reducing the life-threatening issues and high cost associated with the use of high GF doses. Also, microcarriers will be generated for their easy injection into the body through minimally invasive surgery. To do so, a novel microfluidics technology will be used as an efficient tool to generate microcarriers at higher throughput than conventional technologies, which will allow us to easily scale the technology to meet high demand levels in clinical practice. Although this proposal will focus on GF delivery during processes of bone regeneration, this new bioactive carrier will provide a versatile platform of GFs delivery with the potential to be widely used for different biomedical applications.

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