Accelerated development of smart biomaterials for stem cell therapy and production

Renseignements sur le financement
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Type de subvention: Projets stratégiques - De groupe
  • Années: 2013/14 à 2015/16
  • Financement total: $310,000
Mots clés
Chercheur(e) principal(e)

Sommaire du projet

Smart materials that reversibly swell, crosslink, or degrade in response to an environmental stimulus (temperature, pH, light, magnetic field, etc.) have tremendous potential for revolutionizing technologies ranging from biomedical devices to biosensors to energy storage. Our interest lies in the use of smart hydrogel-based materials to deliver cells to a target site and subsequently direct their function to interact in a programmed way with the native biology. Specifically, the Hoare lab is developing materials based on combinations of smart synthetic polymers and natural polymers typically found in the cell environment that can reversibly tune cell adhesion (facilitating cell growth and subsequent recovery) while the Sheardown lab is developing materials that switch from low-viscosity solutions to stiff gels upon heating to physiological temperature (enabling effective delivery of cells to a therapeutic site). However, the effective design of smart materials that exhibit both the physical (e.g. transparency, stiffness, refractive index) and biological (e.g. cell adhesion, migration, and differentiation) properties required for making industrially-relevant products remains challenging, given that a subtle change in the material composition can lead to dramatic changes in the material properties. Working with our partner company ProSensus (which offers leading-edge capabilities in applying statistical models to rapidly design products), and exploiting the state-of-the-art high-throughput synthesis and characterization facilities at McMaster's Biointerfaces Institute, we aim to accelerate this process of smart materials-based product development. By applying statistical approaches to the analysis of both existing data as well as new, high-throughput data relating smart material properties and structures, we aim to design novel materials for therapeutic retinal epithelial stem cell delivery to the back of the eye and and stem cell expansion/recovery for high-yield cell manufacturing. We anticipate this approach will lead to significantly accelerated discovery of smart materials that can be directly translated into products that addresses current market needs.