Project: „Evaluation of the utilization potential of natural silk fibroin composite systems for tissue regeneration - FibroGraft“

Project description:

In an aging society, the regeneration and natural replacement of tissue play an increasingly important role. Nine million people in Germany have worn out cartilage or arthrosis, while half of 5 million diabetics have to be provided with tissue sections. Plastic surgery focuses on such reconstructions and defect coverage, although the availability of autologous transplants is limited. An important aspect of material development is therefore the processing of materials into complex carrier structures, which could enable the targeted formation of certain tissue types through stem cell therapy and tissue engineering. Although the processing of animal tissue such as collagen is an alternative, it is expensive and subject to ethical reservations.

An alternative is naturally derived silk fibroin from the cocoon of the mulberry moth. Up to now, this can only be further processed with the aid of solvents that are hazardous to health, but then allows the production of different forms and structures with adjustable microstructure. In order to raise the potential of silk-fibroin as a new material for the first time, a novel and natural dissolving process is used in the project. This will enable the development of structures that enable the targeted differentiation of stem cells into the most important tissue types. Furthermore, by considering the entire value-added chain and a standard-compliant documentation, an efficient implementation of the material technology and the transfer of the results after the end of the project are ensured.

Cooperation partners:

- Fibrothelium GmbH

- Medical Magnesium GmbH

- University Hospital Aachen, Clinic for Plastic Surgery, Hand and Burn surgery at the university hospital RWTH Aachen

The following sub-goals are aimed at in the overall project:

1. Production of a natural and harmless fibroin solution, production of membranes and sponge structures from silk fibroin for one of the composite structures (Fibrothelium GmbH)

2. Manufacture of axially aligned support structures of silk fibroin for the second composite structure (BioTex)

3. Production of bone-like carrier structures of magnesium for the third composite structure (Medical Magnesium GmbH)

4. Differentiation, vascularization and colonization of all three composite structures with mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and evaluation of the FibroGrafts's in vivo (plastic surgery at UKA)

This project is funded by the Europäischen Fonds für regionale Entwicklung (EFRE), eng. European Regional Development Fund.