André Poot and Dirk Grijpma together with Willeke Daamen and Toin van Kuppevelt from Radboud university medical center received a NWO/TTW grant for 2 PhD students on the following subject.
Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a severe birth defect, where an opening in the diaphragm allows abdominal organs to move into the thoracic cavity. Large diaphragmatic defects require closure by a patch. However, current patch materials are inadequate. Non-degradable synthetic patches are non-compliant leading to e.g. chest wall deformities. Degradable patches resorb too quickly leading to e.g. re-herniations. Currently, no suitable clinical solution resulting in a functional diaphragm is available. In this project, a biodegradable patch for the treatment of CDH will be developed, consisting of biological and synthetic polymers. Biomechanics and degradation of the patch will be extensively studied to mimic the native diaphragm. Upon implantation of the patch in a defect, skeletal muscle cell ingrowth is facilitated by a radial pore structure and biochemical cues. In time, infiltrated cells will produce their own extracellular matrix while the patch resorbs, leaving just the baby’s tissue able to grow with the child.