Acellular (smart material) approaches for therapeutic delivery

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Key: PiN vectors_28x35-04Lead organisation PiN-vectors_28x35-07Partner organisation


Director: Professor Kevin Shakesheff, University of Nottingham

Co-Director: Professor Molly Stevens, Imperial College London

Key Focus

This Hub will develop platform technologies that use materials and drugs to orchestrate cells to regenerate tissue. In regenerative medicine applications, the cells that generate new tissue can either reside within the patient or be administered as a therapy. In both cases there is a need to create an environment in vivo that facilitiates tissue formation. Therapeutic delivery systems build on principles of biomaterials design and drug delivery to create final products in which the efficacy of cell therapies or the mobilization of the patient’s own stem cells are maximized.

Aims and Objectives

The Hub will adopt a multidisciplinary approach to design a wide range of materials from natural and synthetic sources that enhance:

  • Cell survival and function at the intended site of regeneration
  • Generation of anisotropic 3D architectures that guide tissue self assembly
  • Localisation of drugs to augment regeneration

Translational Challenges

The aim of the Hub is to create new technologies that enhance the efficacy and safety of future regenerative
medicine products; recently the UKRMP Acellular Technologies Hub held its Second Annual Meeting (5th/6th November 2014) to review progress against milestone targets and welcome new partnership projects that seek to move towards highly advanced therapies in a number of disease areas. Details of the technologies presented can be found below.

3D Bioprinting –  Dr Jing Yang, University of Nottingham

Therrmoreversible Colloidal Gel – Prof. Kevin Shakesheff, University of Nottingham

Evaluation of Cell Delivery Devices – Ms Mahetab Amer, University of Nottingham

Tunable Particles for Cell Delivery – Mr Abdulrahman Baki, University of Nottingham

Biofunctionalisation_cryptic ECM – Dr Christine-Maria Horejs, Imperial College

Electrospinning – Dr Jenny Puetzer, Imperial College

PEG Hydrogels – Dr Jenny Puetzer, Imperial College

Bruch’s Membrane – Dr Manjit Mehat, University College London

TIPS Particles – Dr Richard Day, University College London

2D Patterning & Cell Sheet Roller – Dr Deepak Kumar, University of Manchester

Clay gels for protein binding – Dr Jon Dawson, University of Southampton

Self-Assembling Functional Hydrogels – Prof Aline Miller, University of Manchester

Drug Delivery Microparticles – Dr Omar Qutachi, University of Nottingham

CAM assay for evaluation of intracellular delivery systems – Dr William van-Grunsven, University of Southampton

Magnetic Nanoparticles (MNPs) – Dr Hareklea Markides, Keele University

Regenerating the oesophagus – Prof Julie Gough, University of Manchester

Enhancing cell therapy in liver – Prof Phil Newsome, University of Birmingham

Stem Cell Exosomes – Dr Tommaso Leonardi, University of Cambridge

Tissue Repair via Acellular Stem Cell Therapies – Dr Stefano Pluchino, University of Cambridge

Replacement of the Corneal Endothelium in Fuchs’ Dystrophy – Prof Rachel Williams, University of Liverpool

Long bone non-union and spinal fusion – Dr Janos Kanczler, University of Southampton

Triggered Differentiation of Stem Cells into Chondrocytes – Dr Patrick King, University of Manchester

ACL Repair failed graft integration – Dr Rachel Oldershaw, University of Liverpool and Dr David Deehan, Newcastle University

Tackling neovascularisation for tissue engineered skin – Prof Sheila MacNeil, University of Sheffield

Articular cartilage loss (osteoarthritis) – Dr Ilyas Khan, Swansea University

In situ tissue engineering for cell transplantation in Parkinson’s disease – Prof James Fawcett, University of Cambridge

Human Embryonic Stem cells for cartilage repair and disease modelling – Prof Susan Kimber, University of Manchester

‘Off-the-Shelf’ Tendon Scaffolds – Prof Liam Grover, University of Birmingham

Key Components of the Hub

Our core team is composed of materials scientists and stem cell biologists from University of Nottingham, Imperial College, University of Manchester, Keele University and Southampton University. These teams have experience in the design of advanced materials for medical applications.

Hub Leads:

Our Research Team

The core team work closely with the initial spokes from Newcastle University, University of Cambridge, Swansea University, Birmingham University and University of Sheffield. In addition, 10 UK based regenerative medicine companies form a collaboration network for Hub.

Expected Outcomes

Within 4 years we expect a number of our initial pre-clinical targets to progress through successful in vivo trials. This will allow our associated clinical teams to lead the establishment of clinical trials. We also expect to significantly broaden our collaborations within the UK and across the World with the aim of establishing ourselves as the centre of excellence for therapeutic delivery in regenerative medicine. We anticipate numerous opportunities for cross-Hub collaboration and for a close relationship with the Cell Therapy Catapult.

Contact us: for information about the UKRMP Acellular Hub please contact Dr Sharon Crouch.