Enhancing Blood Vessel Formation to Aid in Skeletal Regeneration

About the Research

The regeneration of healthy bone is dependent on a good blood supply.

Why do we need new methods for bone regeneration?

Bone is an impressive tissue that is able to regenerate its own structure. The regenerated tissue is often more mechanically robust than the original tissue. When large volumes of bone
are lost due to trauma or resection, however, bone may not be able to completely heal and this can result in fibrous tissue ingrowth leading to the structural integrity of the tissue being compromised and in some cases long-term deformity.

The formation of healthy bone is hindered by poor blood supply.

 When large volumes of bone need to be restored, the volume of viable tissue is often limited by blood supply. In some cases, a poor blood supply can prevent complete fracture healing even when the defect is relatively small. One of our major goals is to develop novel methods for tissue regeneration that utilise molecules or embedded cells to accelerate the vascularisation of new bone.

The delivery of populations of cells to the implant site can accelerate the formation of new blood vessels.

We aim to develop new methods to isolate cells to the site of a fracture using structured soft solids. Both Professor Grover and Professor Hyunjoon Kong’s groups have developed encapsulation methods that allow for the delivery of factors that promote blood vessel formation using cells. At present these approaches are limited by the size of the construct that can be delivered. This collaboration will look at novel ways of structuring implants so that large volumes of well vascularised bone can be formed at an implant site.

 

Researchers
UoB:

Professor Liam Grover 

UIUC: 

Professor Hyunjoon Kong