Growth factor incorporation into injectable hydrogels for tissue and brain repair

Project Team Leader
Dr Andrew Clarkson (UoO)

Project Team
Assc Prof Tim Woodfield (UoO)
Dr Khoon Lim (UoO)
Dr Olga Zubkova (VUW)

Project Summary
The central nervous system (CNS) has a limited capacity to spontaneously regenerate following traumatic injury or disease, requiring innovative strategies to promote tissue and functional repair. Tissue regeneration strategies, such as cell and/or drug delivery, have demonstrated promising results in experimental animal models. The delivery of therapeutic molecules to the CNS using conventional methods, such as oral and intravenous administration, has been limited by diffusion across the blood-brain/spinal cord-barrier (BBB). The use of biomaterials for localised and sustained delivery of biologics to CNS injury sites is actively being pursued. We will engineer a new hydrogel using novel Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are constituents that make up the extracellular matrix in the brain. Further we will cross link in the growth factor Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), and then systematically assess this new biomaterial as a therapeutic for stroke recovery.