Precise engineering of growth factor presentation using extracellular microenvironment-mimicking microfluidic microparticles

Tissue engineering holds immense promise for repairing and regenerating damaged tissues, offering hope to countless individuals affected by injury or disease. However, one of the major hurdles in this field has been delivering growth factors (GFs) precisely, both in terms of location and timing. In a groundbreaking study, researchers at University of California, Los Angeles have developed a novel strategy to overcome this challenge, paving the way for more effective tissue regeneration.

The key to this innovation lies in microscale carriers designed to deliver GFs with enhanced affinity and precise control over release. These microparticles, created using advanced microfluidic techniques and bioconjugation methods, offer sustained and localized delivery of encapsulated GFs for up to 28 days. By fine-tuning the particles’ size, affinity, microstructures, and release kinetics, researchers can tailor their properties to suit specific therapeutic needs.

A remarkable aspect of this approach is the development of a 3D micromixer platform, which enables the formation of core-shell particles with superaffinity. These particles, coated with chitosan shells, effectively block the burst release of GFs, ensuring sustained delivery for up to 10 days. This controlled release mimics the natural signaling cues present during tissue development, maximizing regenerative effects.

The versatility of this technique is demonstrated by its ability to deliver various therapeutic proteins, including human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1α). By combining multiple GFs with designated release profiles, researchers can mimic the complex interplay of growth factors involved in natural morphogenesis.

This groundbreaking approach represents a significant leap forward in tissue engineering, offering precise control over GF delivery for enhanced tissue regeneration. With further development, this technique holds the potential to revolutionize the field, providing tailored solutions for a wide range of medical conditions. As researchers continue to unlock the secrets of tissue regeneration, the future of regenerative medicine shines brighter than ever before.

Hasani-Sadrabadi MM, Yuan W, Ferreira LAQ, Liu Z, Shen J, Sarrión P, Sharifi F, Malek-Khatabi A, Dashtimoghadam E, Yu B, Ansari S, Moshaverinia A. (2024) Precise Engineering of Growth Factor Presentation Using Extracellular Microenvironment-Mimicking Microfluidic Microparticles. ACS Biomater Sci Eng [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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