ReCaP, ‘Regeneration of Articular Cartilage using Advanced Biomaterials and Printing Technology’ proposes a new approach to articular joint repair which will transform the way articular cartilage injuries are treated. The project will achieve this by combining cutting edge recent advances in the area of 3D printing and advanced manufacturing with new insights in stem cell and gene therapy to develop a platform biomaterial technology (a scaffold) capable of repairing both bone and cartilage. A novel surgical procedure will then be applied to allow this scaffold to be anchored to the joint surface while encouraging the body’s own cells to infiltrate the material and repair the surrounding damaged tissue. Using this new approach, the treatment will promote the restoration of even large regions of damaged tissue.
This research builds on the pioneering regenerative scaffolds developed in Professor O’Brien’s laboratory over the past decade which have already improved the quality of life for patients with orthopaedic injuries. It combines knowledge gained from the development of these scaffolds with new insights in scaffold-based gene delivery obtained from previous European Research Council funded projects (CollRegen and miRaColl) together with new developments on 3D printing of regenerative biomaterials from AMBER.
Professor O’Brien said: “I am honoured to have been awarded this prestigious advanced research grant from the European Research Council. It builds on previous ERC-funded projects undertaken at my lab. Combining these insights with advances in 3D printing of biomaterials from our AMBER and a new surgical approach for joint repair, offers new hope to patients suffering from damage to their articular joints.”
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