The cell encapsulation systems under development are aimed at promoting bone tissue regeneration using microspheres to deliver, to the appropriate site, bone cells able to synthesize new bone tissue.
For that purpose, bone cells are being immobilized within a synthetic extracellular matrix capable of regulating the function of the cell, through conjugation of oligopeptides including the Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) sequence. It was hypothesized that peptides incorporated in the hydrogel matrix would promote cell viability, proliferation and differentiation within microspheres. Microspheres of alginate conjugated with RGD peptides have proven to be able to promote bone cellsâ€™ viability, proliferation and differentiation.
My colleagues at INEB involved in this work are Mário Barbosa, Cristina Barrias, Marta Evangelista, Sílvia Bidarra and José Luís Santos. This work is presently being carried out in collaboration with Professor David J. Mooney s Group, from Harvard University (USA). The most recent developments concerning this area of research were presented by Marta Evangelista, at the 6th International Symposium on Frontiers in Biomedical Polymers, in June 2005.