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Printing Ultrasound Stimulated piezoelectric materials for Tissue Engineering

Project description

Piezolectric scaffolds stimulate tissue growth

Tissue engineering is a rapidly growing biomedical field focused on repair, maintenance, or replacement of damaged cells. The technique typically relies on a 'scaffold' on which cells are encouraged to differentiate and develop via addition of growth factors and other substances. However, an individual tissue or organ is made up of a multitude of different types of cells, and getting them all to co-exist and organise themselves into functional units as they would in the body is no easy task. PRIUS-TE is planning to significantly improve the outcomes for tissue engineering by exploiting smart materials in hierarchical scaffolds. Although the focus is on bone and cartilage, the innovation will no doubt find application in many other tissues and organs.


On an aging society, our quality of life depends significantly in our capability to regenerate or engineer replacements for diseased and damaged tissues. One of these is the osteochondral interface. Over 30% of the population above the age of 65 is affected by osteochondral defects, being the most common cause of disability in older adults. PRIUS-TE (Printing Ultrasound Stimulated piezoelectric materials for Tissue Engineering) aims to regenerate the osteochondral interface with the use of hierarchical piezoelectric materials capable of stimulating mechanically, electrically and chemically the cells. Cartilage is unable to adequately self-regenerate due to its avascular character, the high content of extra cellular matrix (ECM) and the quiescent character of cells within (chondrocytes). Damage or diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA) lead to degeneration, reaching subchondral bone and generating an osteochondral defect. Clinical treatments rely on microfracture techniques that recruit tissue-specific progenitor (or stem) cells from the bone marrow, and form a de-novo cartilaginous tissue. However, the recruited cells are not able to self-organize and differentiate into phenotypically coherent cells. This results in the formation of unstructured and isotropic tissues with impaired mechanical properties that fail at long term. Current TE strategies are mainly based on isotropic materials that disregard the intrinsic multi-zonal character of the native tissue. PRIUS-TE takes inspiration from the structure and intrinsic properties of the osteochondral interface. It is based on hierarchical scaffolds that mimic the structure, cell microenvironment and fixed ionic charge responsible of the mechanical properties of the native tissue. These gradient, hierarchical and piezoelectric scaffolds will stimulate the recruited cells electrically, mechanically and chemically promoting the layer-specific cell growth, differentiation and the formation of a coherent tissue.


Net EU contribution
€ 160 932,48
48940 Leioa

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Noreste País Vasco Bizkaia
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 160 932,48