A Surface Chemistry Toolbox for Tissue Regeneration and Integration

Chris Lambert, PhD

The ultimate goal of our work is the development of an advanced osseointegrated percutaneous implanted prosthetic.  Our contribution to this effort is the promotion of soft tissue integration with implanted inorganic materials. Soft tissue properties sought in this work include strength and resistance to mechanical degradation, close integration with implants, vascularization, neural regeneration and recovery of neural function. In all this work it is critical that the implant material and associated hard and soft tissue and the interfaces that are regenerated remain infection free.

Extracellular matrices are crucial to soft tissue regeneration and integration. However, rather  than mimic extracellular matrix using artificial materials we have sought in our work to encourage cell growth and integration on the surface so that the cells themselves produce the appropriate ECM for the environment in which they find themselves.  We present here a toolbox of surface chemistries and surface manipulation techniques that we use to encourage desired cell and tissue behavior.   In one example, this toolbox has been used to modify tissue culture plastic so that it behaves chemically like glass.  We have also modified otherwise inert surfaces such as Teflon to allow the adhesion of a wide range of chemistries which can be used to affect cell behavior.  For the most part our approach has been to employ “simple” molecules as surface modification elements.  These provide the advantage that the surface is well defined and homogenous, making large scale cell and tissue behavior more predictable.

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Last modified: December 22, 2010 15:13:04