Tissue regeneration has emerged as a promising novel therapy for various disease conditions. A key requirement for the implementation of this advanced approach is the efficient, reliable and reproducible growth of 3D cell cultures, including organoid structures. State-of-the-art 3D culture media support the growth of such cultures, yet exhibit several key setbacks, including low reproducibility and limited modularity. Moreover, no commercial piezoelectric media are currently available, thus prohibiting the option of inducing electrical stimulation of the cells via mechanical stimuli, similar to the in vivo function of several tissues. Here, we aim to develop PiezoGel, a biocompatible, reproducible, controllable and piezoelectric medium for 3D cell cultures. The newly-designed medium will be based on two components, a cell-supporting hydrogel and a piezoelectric self-assembled peptide structure. In the scope of the BISON-694426 Advanced ERC project, we identified promising molecular building blocks for each of these components. The Proof of Concept project will focus both on technological development of the PiezoGel matrix and on business feasibility. Thus, the formulation of the newly-designed cell medium will be optimized, and the resulting matrix will be examined for various properties, including mechanical rigidity and piezoelectricity. The growth of diverse organoid cultures, as well as stem cell differentiation, will be further tested and calibrated. Relevant stakeholders will be approached allowing to map the product requirements and expected features directly from the users. In parallel, the regulatory compliance of the PiezoGel medium will be verified, and the relevant material and methodologies will be patented. We envision diverse applications for the PiezoGel technology, including establishing 3D cell cultures as drug development platforms, basic research exploration, and further advancement of the tissue regeneration field.
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