Growth Factor Delivery in Tissue Engineering

Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) serves as the most widely utilized mediator of engineered cartilage growth. Conventionally, TGF-β is supplied to engineered tissues at highly supraphysiologic levels in an attempt to quickly grow tissue. However, a growing body of evidence brings to light a central paradox with this strategy. The conventional supplementation of highly supraphysiologic TGF-β levels induces signs of pathology (e.g. fibrosis, cellular hypertrophy). Alternatively, the supplementation of moderate, near-physiologic levels of TGF-β mitigate pathology, but exhibits severely limited transport into tissues.

In contrast, the natural TGF-β delivery process in cartilage occurs quite differently, where chondrocytes are surrounded by large stores of TGF-β that are sequestered in an inactive form, termed latent TGF-β. Chondrocytes activate latent stores when needed, leading to highly advantageous, regulated activity. This achieves essential biosynthesis while avoiding pathology. 

 

An exciting new project in the Growth Factor Mechanobiology Lab is the recreation of this native regulatory mechanism in tissue engineering systems. Chondrocytes are encapsulated in hydrogel scaffolds conjugated with large stores of latent TGF-β, akin to the native developmental process. Chondrocytes can activate these stores, giving rise to highly desirable, controlled activity in tissues, and subsequent improvements in the quality of tissue formation. We anticipate that this strategy will lead to a paradigm shift in tissue engineering technology and become a gold standard for musculoskeletal tissue regeneration.

Recent News

March 2020:  The Albro Lab is awarded the 2020 MSE Innovation Grant

February 2020:  The Albro and Bergholt Labs present their work on Raman spectroscopy for early OA diagnostics at SPIE Photonics West and the ORS Annual Meeting

February 2020:  Sedat Dogru and Nicholas Simone present abstracts of their work at the 2020 ORS Annual Meeting

January 2020:  Congratulations to Tianbai Wang (Materials Science) and Sedat Dogru (Mechanical Engineering) for passing their qualifying exams

December 2019:  The Grinstaff Lab and Albro Lab receive NSF award from Division of Materials Research

November 2019:  The Albro Lab receives pilot grant from NIH-funded MGH Center for Skeletal Research (CFSR)

 

July 2019:  The Albro Lab receives NSF award from Biomechanics and Mechanobiology