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SBIR Phase I: An Injectable Protein Matrix to Enhance the Stability of Autologous Fat Grafts

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2052243
Agency Tracking Number: 2052243
Amount: $252,992.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: BT
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-07-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-06-30
Small Business Information
701 W MAIN ST #410
DURHAM, NC 27701
United States
DUNS: 116910486
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Stefan Roberts
 (901) 827-4757
Business Contact
 Stefan Roberts
Phone: (901) 827-4757
Research Institution

The broader impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is related to the use of a patient’s own fat tissue for repair after injury or surgery. Removing tissue to eliminate damage through disease or trauma is universally followed by repairing tissue to restore form and function. While a broad range of materials are available, the use of a patient’s own fat for these procedures has long been considered an obvious option. Fat can be safely harvested, is rich in stem cells and growth factors and has other desirable properties, depending on the location from which it is harvested. The use of this material for surgical procedures has been inhibited by a loss of specific physical properties during the harvesting procedure. Providing a matrix to reconstruct these properties is likely to render fat grafting a more commonplace procedure. By optimizing structure and formulation of this matrix material, tissue engineering can be disrupted with an off-the-shelf option enabling harvested fat from a patient to address the hundreds of thousands of reconstructive procedures undertaken each year. The proposed project is based on the use of elastin-based recombinant proteins to address the current limitations of tissue repair scaffolds. The proposed technology uses highly disordered proteins to produce defined 3D structures to replicate mechanical and biological activities of the body. Using iterative design and molecular engineering, the team has generated a new class of biomaterials that are uniquely suited to meet the key criteria for a fat grafting support matrix, including injectability, in vivo phase transition to a firm solid, and biocompatibility to allow cellular viability and vascularization. This project focuses on optimization of the matrix for reconstruction procedures, including facial, breast, amputation sites and foot pad tissues. A range of materials with unique biomechanical properties are likely required to address each of the target use cases. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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