CamRegen scaffolds for cardiac repair11th Dec 2014

Case Study: Professor Serena Best, University of Cambridge

CamRegen scaffolds for cardiac repair

The aim of the CamRegen Scaffolds for Cardiac Repair project is the development of threedimensional environments to promote regeneration of cardiac tissue.

Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death and disability in the world. This burden is predicted to rise in the future due to an ageing population and increasing prevalence of cardiovascular disease. To date there is a critical unmet need for cost effective treatment of cardiac disease. Improved treatment options for cardiac repair offer the potential for more rapid patient recovery, reduced hospitalisation time and reduced cost to the NHS.

It is possible to partially repair diseased myocardium using multiple epicardial injections of functional cardiomyocytes. Despite this up to 90% of these implanted cells die or migrate elsewhere. Additionally cell injections do not provide mechanical support for, or structural integration with, the host tissue. In contrast to these interventions, the use of threedimensional scaffolds can provide a cell niche and can act as a more effective cardiac repair vehicle.

To address these issues this Proof of Concept (PoC) project extends upon on the wellestablished collagen scaffold fabrication technologies at the Cambridge Centre for Medical Materials. These employ an ice templated methodology to generate highly porous, homogeneous, threedimensional scaƒolds (figure 1). The particular focus of this PoC project is the development of an innovative combined crosslinking approach to enhance the structural stability of threedimensional collagenbased structures whilst minimising reaction with cell adhesive side chains. Through this approach we are seeking to fabricate scaffolds with improved cell behaviour.

To date the award provided by Regener8 has allowed development of collagen scaƒolds that support superior cellular functions. Therefore these improved scaffolds offer a combination of excellent mechanical and degradation properties whilst simultaneously retaining nativelike cellcollagen interactions. The funding provided by the IKC PoC scheme has provided research capacity to allow us to demonstrate this biological benefit as a result of our innovative scaffold treatments. Pilot in vivo studies and market analysis as part of this PoC will underpin future product commercialisation. Continued development of this scaffold technology has been secured through further competitive funding.

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