The regeneration game

AngioScaff (Angiogenesis-inducing Bioactive and Bioresponsive Scaffolds in Tissue Engineering) aims to develop bioresponsive, bioactive and injectable materials capable of carrying therapeutics that can be used for tissue regeneration in humans.  To date, groups in the consortium have developed a set of seven new biomaterials inspired by natural processes which combine with bioactives – agents that have an effect on living tissue – to act as scaffolds that stimulate tissue repair and lead to the regeneration of fully functional tissue. This year’s meeting on 2-3 December is being organized by IBEC, home to two of the more than 30 specialist research groups that make up the AngioScaff consortium. IBEC director Josep Planell’s Bio/non-bio Interactions for Regenerative Medicine group and Damien Lacroix’s  Biomechanics and Mechanobiology team are working on the design and development side of the project, focusing on bioactivity, cell-associated environmental responsiveness and controllable porosity. “Computational models of the blood vessel growth are being developed to assess the functionality of the new vessels induced by the implanted biomaterials,” explains Damien. “Blood vessel growth in itself if not sufficient; we need to develop methods that can assess if and when the newly created vessels function properly, by bringing sufficient supply of oxygen to the surrounding cells and therefore allowing tissue growth.” “Injectable materials that induce angiogenesis – blood vessel growth and development – in the body can be used in situations that demand bone, skin or even muscle repair,” says Josep. “The example of the current situation in organ donation is simply one main motivation behind regenerative medicine and a good way of illustrating how progressions in this field can benefit society. Developing such materials could eventually lead to a reduction in mortality rates related to waiting times, organ rejection and perhaps, in the future, even the need for donations at all.” Other groups that make up the AngioScaff partnership come from European and Israeli academic centres, small industries and large pharma companies, and the project has been awarded nearly €12m until 2012 to achieve its goals. The new materials and angiogenic molecules will, as a first stage of pre-clinical development, be validated in animal models with a view to their future introduction into the clinic and to commercial development. The meeting will take place at the Hotel H10 Marina Barcelona. For more information, visit