Chinese award for Rong Jin and Yan Song

Rong Jin and Yan Song received a Chinese Government Award 2008. The awards will be handed in May of this year at the Chinese embassy in Den Haag. Chinese PhD students that do studies abroad and are important for the technological and scientific development of China are nominated for this award.

Rong Jin: Injectable hydrogels in cartilage tissue engineering

The regeneration of damaged or degenerated cartilage tissue, due to trauma or diseases, remains a large problem in our society. Also the limited self-regenerative capacity of cartilage calls for new approaches to regenerate this type of tissue. Rong Jin started a new approach in cartilage repair by the development of in-situ forming hydrogels that can be placed at a defect site by a simple injection. She uses two solutions that upon mixing forms a highly hydrophilic network, a hydrogel. A big advantage of applying hydrogels is their high water content. Hydrogels are thus mimicking natural soft tissues and as a result are well tolerated in the body. One solution that is injected contains a natural polymer while the other contains an enzyme that binds the chains together. The gel sets in seconds and this minimally invasive method is very patient friendly. Healthy cartilage cells from the patient can be easily mixed in and in vitro studies showed that such cells are highly viable and form new cartilage in the hydrogels. The fruitful cooperation between Rong Jin of the “Polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials” group and Liliana Teixera of the “Tissue Regeneration” group is an example how the BMTi institute provides an environment for tackling health care issues.

This project is sponsored by the DPTE program and supervised by Dr. Piet J. Dijkstra and Prof. Dr. Jan Feijen.

Yan Song: Tissue engineered small diameter blood vessels

To address the problem of atherosclerosis, the reconstruction of blood vessels by tissue engineering is a promising method. In her studies, highly elastic and flexible poly(trimethylene carbonate) tubular scaffolds were prepared. By crosslinking, these scaffolds had excellent compliance and elasticity, with tensile properties that were quite comparable to those of native blood vessels. A pulsatile flow cell culturing bioreactor was constructed to provide pressures and pulsations that mimic physiological conditions. Smooth muscle cells were successfully seeded and cultured under these conditions. Cells proliferated well in the bioreactor and formed connected tissues after 14 d. Following these promising results, her cell seeded scaffolds were used to replace the aortas of rats. The in vivo studies addressed issues of biocompatibility, durability and degradation properties.

This project is sponsored by the DPTE program and supervised by Prof. Dr. Dirk W.Grijpma and Prof. Dr. Jan Feijen.