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Smart acellular scaffolds for bone repair

Final Report Summary - STUFFOR (Smart acellular scaffolds for bone repair)

The project, STUFFOR (Smart acellular scaffolds for bone repair), was initiated on 1st April 2016. It was a 6 month project and should be completed by 30 September 2016. In the 6 months period, we achieved most of the objectives set in the proposal of this project by overcoming a few predictable and un-predictable problems and difficulties with hard work.
The aim of the project was to fabricate new 3D acellular scaffolds that we designed and developed during the period of main project in UK (Project No: 628097) for use in the treatment of bone defects. Treatment of large bone defect is still a clinical challenge especially for the society with high aging population. When bone defects reach the critical size, the defective bone can’t heal by itself and the patients need bone substitute or graft to simulate bone formation. In the past decades, tissue engineering, which generates functional tissues through growing cells within scaffolds, has demonstrated its potential for new therapies to treat bone defects. Multi-functional scaffolds play a pivotal role for the success of tissue engineering. The proposal of this project is to address this clinical unmet. The novel 3D acellular scaffolds developed in this project will endow the capacity to induce bone tissue formation and vascularization in rabbit bone defect model. They are off-shelf and scalable for commercialization. The specific objectives of this project were:
1. To prepare multifaceted 3D hybrid scaffolds combined the advantages of electrospun nanofibers, porous scaffolds and active chemicals enabling to provide biological, physical and mechanical properties for animal experiments.
2. To assess the effect of scaffolds on bone regeneration in vivo.
The main achievements toward the set objectives are shown as follows.
1. Establish and optimize the equipment to produce controllable size of gelatin micro-spheres as the porogens via the novel inversed opal technique, and nanofibrous scaffolds with suitable diameter by electrospinning technique.
2. Fabricate and modify the 3D hybrid scaffolds for animal experiment.
3. Prepare bone defects model of rabbit and transplant 3D hybrid scaffolds into bone defected area.
To disseminate these results, the fellow has presented her work in conference of 10th World Biomaterials Congress and Annual meeting of Emergency Medicine.
The fellow has made contribution to and obtained experience in teaching and supervision of postgraduates. She has organized several seminars in Xuzhou Medical University and gave comments on master students’ research works. She also co-supervised one Chinese student and one Indian postgraduate student in the field of stem cells and bone regeneration. She also co-supervised one undergraduate student in Southeast University. These activities strengthen the fellow’s transferable skills.
The fellow has invited Professor Ying Yang (the host supervisor in UK) to visit Xuzhou Medical University as the honor professor, which will pave the roadmap for the long-term cooperation relation between Keele University and Xuzhou Medical University.
Through this project, the fellow has built up good relationship between Xuzhou Medical University and Southeast University, and has promoted one co-operated project between these two universities.