The treatment of bone traumas and fractures concerns about one million patients per year in the EU and the US. Bone is the most often transplanted tissue, with up to one million grafts realized each year in Europe alone. Autografts are ideally suited to repair bones from an immunology standpoint; however, they require to harvest bone in the patient, which implies a second operation with possible associated complications; in addition, large reconstructions remain difficult. Allografts are essentially obtained from decellularized bone scaffolds taken from human cadavers; although quite efficient regarding the scaffold structure itself, they may cause possible adverse immunologic reactions. In addition, the osteoinductive properties of such decellularized structures are poor which limits considerably the implant colonization and consequently the bone regeneration.

In this context the present project aims to develop new strategies to regenerate the biofunction of decellularized bone scaffolds used in medicine. For this, bioactive coatings improving the bioadhesion and addressing biochemical (bioadhesion, growth factor) and physical (stiffness) cues to osteoblastic cells will deposited on the surface of bone implants. These thin macromolecular coatings will be prepared by layer-by-layer and/or grafting processes based on the large expertise developed by IMCN/UCL and Grenoble INP/LMGP groups during the last 10 years.

Adhesion and proliferation of osteoblastic cells on model surfaces and on modified bone implants will be studied in Grenoble INP/LMGP depending on morphological parameters such as the thickness, the bio-adhesiveness, the mechanical rigidity of the coatings and the presence of growth factors. In a second step, the methods will be transposed to decellularized bone scaffolds provided by the clinical laboratory of Prof. Dufrane (UCL), and tests will be performed with osteoblastic cells differentiated from adipose stem cells from NOVADIP BIOSCIENCES.

This project is a multidisciplinary project involving research groups developing innovative approaches in material surface functionalization, stem cell manipulation and tissue engineering.

Project Partners

The successful applicant will work in the Institute of Condensed Matter & Nanosciences (Bio & Soft Matter division) of UCL (UCL/IMCN, Belgium) and in the Laboratoire des Matériaux et du Génie Physique (Materials and Biological Matter group ) of Grenoble INP (Grenoble INP/LMGP, France). In addition, she/he will have the opportunity to work in close collaboration with an industrial partner (NOVADIP BIOSCIENCES, Belgium) very active in the development of new osteogenic implants incorporating stem cells for bone reconstruction.

Academic partners involved in this project have a complementary expertise in the field of surface biofunctionalization and cell studies. They have developed a close collaboration for several years, to fabricate microengineered biofunctional surfaces.

Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium

The UCL/IMCN partner (Profs. Karine Glinel & Alain M. Jonas) is active in the field of soft matter taken in its broader meaning. From living micro-organisms studied as a particular state of matter, to hybrid or even purely inorganic materials, the activities of BSMA cover scientific topics as diverse as self-assembly, biosensing and biointerfaces, polymer science, surface science, and (nano)composites for applications in medicine, electronics and information technology, materials, or energy. In this project, UCL/IMCN will be in charge of the surface biofunctionalization and characterization of the bone implants.

Laboratoire des Matériaux et du Génie Physique, Grenoble INP, France

The Grenoble INP/LMGP partner (Prof. Catherine Picart) develops a research focusing on materials for biosensors, interaction between proteins and materials surfaces or biomembranes and control of cellular processes by engineered surfaces with applications in musculo-skeletal tissue engineering and cancer therapy. The INP Grenoble/LMGP partner will be in charge of the cellular studies on modified bone implants.

The company NOVADIP BIOSCIENCES will be in charge of the pre-differentiation of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblastic cells for bone implant colonization.

Host Country (employment): Belgium

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