Development of Biomaterial Scaffolds for Use in Regenerating Muscle Tissue
Injuries to soft tissues in extremities represent a high percentage of battlefield wounds in recent conflicts. Therapies for restoring function to injured muscle are needed for Wounded Warriors suffering from debilitating and sometimes disfiguring musculoskeletal injuries. Regenerative medicine holds promises of new treatment strategies, yet there remains significant need to develop better platform technologies for growing functional tissue and translate them into clinical and commercial use. Biomaterials derived from keratin proteins may provide a platform on which regenerative strategies can be built. Keratins support cellular adhesion and regulate cellular behavior, properties that can be exploited to create potential new solutions to muscle regeneration. Keratins have broad biocompatibility and can be formulated as films, foams, gels, fibers, or solid tissue constructs. Keratin nanofibers have high porosity and surface area-to-volume ratios that may enhance muscle-promoting bioactivities. This Phase I proposal seeks to perform initial testing of a keratin nanofibrous biomaterial, and to examine the feasibility of using this material to drive muscle cell differentiation. The results of these studies will be used to tailor specific combinations of growth factors and keratin proteins into nanofiber biomaterial scaffolds for use in small animal muscle repair studies to be conducted in Phase II.
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