The medicine of the future will need new kinds of treatment to overcome the challenges of demographic change and the consequences of major endemic diseases. This calls for smart, biohybrid materials that can diagnose, monitor and control physiological processes. One of the core tasks of the Health unit is to develop these materials and find suitable ways of processing them and integrating them into existing systems.
Current R&D priorities include:
Biohybrid materials developed by the Fraunhofer ISC open up new pathways in regenerative medicine. They are biodegradable in the human body to a controllable extent and can be shaped into any three-dimensional form reaching a resolution in the 100 nm range. These are excellent properties e.g. for scaffold materials.
An optimum combination of material and cell tissue can direct the human body’s self-healing power towards an accelerated and durable integration of a high-tech scaffold into the surrounding biological environment. Three-dimensional scaffolds are also used in tissue engineering to grow tissue in-vitro. For optimum cell colonization, both applications require adaptable 3D structures in combination with a nanoscale surface patterning and biochemical functionalization. Scaffolds also guarantee stable 3D cell crosslinking and good nutrient supply.
Diagnosis and theranostics
For personalized diagnoses and therapies, the Fraunhofer ISC has developed a number of multifunctional nanoparticles which bind biomarkers, encapsulate active drug substances, or can be used in-vitro and in-vivo in various imaging processes. It is possible to integrate companion diagnostic features into bioresorbable scaffolds to monitor the healing process. For pre-clinical trials, the Fraunhofer ISC teams up with the Fraunhofer Attract Group "3D NanoCell" to develop customized "3D cell assays" for the safe and reliable screening of active drug substances.
In close cooperation with the Translational Center "Regenerative Therapies for Oncology and Musculoskeletal Diseases" the Fraunhofer ISC develops GMP standard implants on basis of the vascularized scaffold "BioVaSc". In addition, implant surfaces are modified for better biocompatibility.
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