Osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful joint disorder affecting millions of sufferers worldwide, and occurs through formation oflesions followed by degradation of the articular cartilage layer coating the major joints. Repair of such lesions via tissue
engineering has been one of the most promising directions for alleviating OA. The rationale behind this is that the cartilage lesions regenerate after implantation of a scaffolding matrix incorporating desired cell types. Limited clinical success partially originated from the lack of suitable interfacial properties of the scaffolds. We have applied recently revealed concepts on hydration interactions (on some of which we hold a patent), which, we believe, will lead to a significant advance in
scaffold-based treatment of cartilage lesions. This applies in particular to the development of scaffolds with modified interfacial properties, which are essential for repairs of large lesions. This is realized by fabricating suitable scaffolds with suitable additives, whose properties form an integral part of our associated ERC project. This Proof of Concept project,which thus ties in closely with our ERC project, consists of several workpackages. An integral part of the plan of work will establish proof of the feasibility of the idea through modification, characterization and mechanical fine-tuning of scaffolds for cartilage compatibility. The other workpackages, which are at the heart of this project, will examine the prospects of commercializing such scaffolds for clinical applications, via multifaceted market studies; identification of possible partners;and development of an appropriate business model.
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