Awarded the Tirecat project with a Llavor grant for the development of technologies for tissue regeneration

Awarded the Tirecat project with a Llavor grant for the development of technologies for tissue regeneration

1 Oct 2020

The project “Catechol-based Free-Standing Films for Tissue Regeneration: The Case of Osteoarthritis (TIRECAT)” has been awarded with a LLAVOR grant for innovative projects with potential for being incorporated into the production sector, granted by the AGAUR (Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca, Generalitat de Catalunya), FEDER (Fons Europeu de Desenvolupament Regional) and Secretaria d’Universitats i Recerca del Departament d’Empresa i Coneixement de la Generalitat de Catalunya.

Nowadays, damaged cartilage in osteoarthirits (OA) condition requires the application of cells to be regenerated. While deep defects can be filled with biomaterial loaded cells, small superficial defects, as it is the case in OA, have only space for single cells. Currently, the injection of cells into the joint cavity is preclinically and clinically tested. So far, results show that hardly any cells end up in the cartilage surface but were found in other tissues of the joint cavity such as the synovial membrane, tendons and the meniscus. The reason is, that the cartilage has a rather antiadhesive surface and cells require time to adhere. Untreated OA in early stage will become more severe in short time making its treatment and regeneration a major issue. Therefore, a delivery system of cells to the cartilage surface, staying there for a while to allow cells to grow from the films to the cartilage ridges could overcome this problem. Such platform needs to be very thin, biocompatible, biodegradable and adhesive on tissue environment.

In the Nanosfun group, a thin free-standing film specially designed for its application in tissue regeneration have been developed. This platform has demonstrated its biocompatibility in vitro and in ex vivo healthy cartilage tissues, showing its capacity to host cells (Chondrocytes – HAC and Adipose Stromal Cells – ASC) which can grow and proliferate. Thanks to its bioinspired composition based on catechol molecules, the free-standing film can be attached in tissues under wet conditions. The film is fully characterized, and its properties (thickness, patterning, functional groups, among others) can be modulated. Furthermore, the easy handling of the films and their affordable manipulation makes them very promising for its application in damaged cartilage.


At this point, the technology developed must be proved in environments closer to the real situation for OA condition in order to validate its advantages. For this reason, collaboration with Dr. César Galo García Fontecha, with recognized experience in Traumatology and Orthopaedics area at the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu has been planned for the realization of the present Project. This collaboration will make possible to address the remaining issues in terms of in vivo performance of the free-standing film developed.

Dr. Salvio Suárez-García (Entrepreneur Scientist)
Dr. Daniel Ruiz-Molina (Group Leader)

More information:

Ajuts d’Indústria del Coneixement per a l’any 2019. Modalitat A. Ajuts Llavor

This project has been co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

(Grant Number: 2019 LLAV 00074)

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