Natural Polymers for Cranio-facial Tissue Engineering
Agency / Branch:
DOD / OSD
Complex craniofacial tissue loss is a major medical problem affecting deployed military personnel. During the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, approximately 88% of injured troops sustain severe blast-related injuries to their head and neck from improvised explosive devices. These severe and disfiguring injuries frequently involve volumetric loss of skin, muscle, cartilage, and bone, and result in increased morbidity, mortality, and recovery times. Reconstruction of damaged or missing craniofacial tissues typically requires repeated surgical procedures, frequently with poor functional and cosmetic outcomes. There is a substantial and urgent need for improved treatment options, capable of promoting regeneration of multiple craniofacial tissues and accelerating the healing process. The ultimate goal of this proposal is to develop a family of tissue-specific bioengineered connective tissue matrices to improve functional and cosmetic outcomes of craniofacial reconstruction. This will be achieved by culturing fibroblasts from different craniofacial tissues to produce cell-derived matrices (CDM) composed of naturally-synthesized extracellular matrix components. The CDM will be used as bioactive connective tissue scaffolds for the attachment of major craniofacial cell types to construct a variety of regenerative tissues. The connective tissue matrices will be assessed for strength, histological architecture, biochemical composition, and promotion of cellular attachment.
Small Business Information at Submission:
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