Project Title: Diabetic Wound Healing through an Injectable and Tuneable Extracellular Matrix Derived Hydrogel as a Stem Cell Delivery Niche
Thematic Area: Wound Healing & Wound Care
Focus of Research: Diabetic Wound Healing
Diabetic wounds are one of the most commonly occurring complications of diabetes. Features of diabetic wounds include: harsh wound environments, prolonged inflammation, reduced blood vessel formation and abnormal wound healing, resulting in high amputation and mortality rates. Given the complex nature of the disorder among diverse patient populations, the development of advanced therapeutic tools remains a challenging imperative that needs to be addresses. The use of implanted stem cells has demonstrated significant potential to treat diabetic wounds, however poor rates of engraftment coupled with a hostile wound microenvironment has limited clinical application to date. As such, the improving of stem cell delivery and thus engraftment rates has been identified as a pivotal milestone in the development of diabetic wound treatments. Biomaterials offer an attractive option for wound healing applications as they can provide a protective environment for stem cell delivery and have versatile functions. Of note, injectable hydrogels consisting of naturally derived biopolymers have garnered significant attention within tissue engineering owing to their natural abundance and biocompatibility. The overall aim of this project is the development of an injectable hydrogel biopolymer system which will improve delivery efficiency of stem cells as well as provide a cell protective scaffold to enhance engraftment levels and ultimately therapeutic potential for diabetic wound applications.
Funded by: Irish Research Council
PI: Prof Wenxin Wang
Other Group/team members: Ms Melissa Johnson
Project Duration: April 2020-April 2023