Advanced Organ bioengineering and Therapeutics (AOT)

Development of novel composite materials for the treatment of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a worldwide problem. It has been estimated that 9 % of all women are suffering from POP. Primarily, the POP is repaired with the patient’s own tissue. However, the probability of POP relapse after traditional surgery is 30 %. Nowadays, the recurrent or severe POP are reconstructed using nonabsorbable polypropylene (PP) mesh. However, the complication frequency related to these PP implantations was noted to be very high (20-40 % depending on the surgical approach and technique used). These complications include infections, severe pelvic pain, sexual problems, mesh exposure through vaginal mucosa, migration, and vaginal shrinkage.

The development of novel biodegradable materials and tissue engineering (TE) based methods could overcome the problems related to the use non-degradable PP meshes. The biodegradable (polymeric) biomaterial should be biocompatible, flexible, elastic, easy to handle, suturable, and have adequate mechanical properties that allow it to bear the abdominal pressure, while the neofascia forms. Also, it should promote the regeneration of new fascia and facilitate cell differentiation towards myofibroblasts.

Poly(trimethylene carbonate (PTMC) is a flexible and elastic biodegradable polymer with excellent suturability and handling characteristics. Ascorbic acid (AA) has been shown to play an essential role in collagen synthesis, and therefore in the development of connective tissue. We hypothesize that composites of PTMC and AA derivatives will be highly suited for POP repair surgery.

The focus of an MSc or BSc project will be on developing synthetic biodegradable biomaterial composites based on PTMC and ascorbic acid 2-phosphate for POP applications, and assessing their mechanical and ascorbic acid 2-phosphate release characteristics.

Prof. D.W. Grijpma
Dr. A.A. Poot