Disorders of electrically responsive tissues including spinal cord injuries, neuromuscular, neurodegenerative, and cardiac diseases, are chronic and progressive in nature leading to high disability with considerable social impact and economic consequences. The need for therapies that could facilitate regeneration of electroresponsive cells has become a high priority in medical research. Although tissue-engineered constructs are being designed to assist the growth and differentiation of these cells, they are largely limited by their inability to simultaneously provide more than one stimuli vital for cell regeneration. Thus, there is an unmet need to develop a multifunctional construct that could provide more than one stimuli concurrently or sequentially. Conducting polymers (CPs) are emerging as a new class of bioactive materials to interface with these cells due to their unique ability to conduct electricity. This proposal will take an innovative approach to develop multifunctional polythiophene CP constructs that will provide a substrate for cell attachment, controlled delivery of biomolecules and direct electric stimulation to enhance cell regeneration. In stage one of the proposal, novel polythiophene scaffolds with appropriate architectural structures will be developped and optimised in terms of their electric properties and capability to promote cell adhesion and growth. In the second stage, selected biomolecules will be loaded within these scaffolds and their “on demand” release will be investigated. Finally, CP structures with optimised properties will be assessed for direct electric stimulation to enable cell proliferation and differentiation. These novel CP scaffolds will be reported for the first time by a European research group aiding towards the competitiveness of European life science research. By meeting the objective of this proposal, innovative healthcare solutions will be introduced improving the life of many suffering from untreatable diseases.
Fields of science
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