IMPRESS fellowship at TERMIS-EU 2017

IMPRESS fellowship at TERMIS-EU 2017

An abstract submitted by IMPRESS Research Fellow Dr Elena Mancuso has been accepted at TERMIS-EU 2017. This high profile conference is the European chapter meeting of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS). Dr Mancuso will present her work on the development of a co-electrospun membrane for pelvic organ prolapse repair and regeneration.

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a common chronic disorder, occurring in up to 50% of women above the age of 50, and with critical consequences on their quality of life. Although many conservative non-surgical approaches have been proposed, it has been reported that a woman has a lifetime likelihood to undergo POP surgery of 11%1. Synthetic and natural materials are currently used for the treatment and repair of POP. However, there are still unmet clinical needs in terms of biocompatibility, mechanical properties, failure, infections and high recurrence risks. Specifically, synthetic polymers are prone to erosion and infection, while natural polymers have a rapid degradation rate with weak mechanical properties, thus their clinical application is limited2. To address the current challenges, the aim of this research is to develop an electrospun biodegradable membrane able to: (i) mimic the three-dimensional (3D) architecture of the pelvic floor, (ii) allow better biomechanical integration into the host tissue for improved long-term repair, and finally (iii) provide an antibacterial action. Beyond the existing state-of-the-art, chitosan (CS)/poly(ε-caprolactone)(PCL) 3D fiber-based scaffolds were produced by using a needless Nanospider™ (Elmarco, Czech Republic) technology, and electrospun from a solvent mixture consisting of formic and acetic acid. As a first stage, different CS and PCL concentrations were blended to obtain fine nanofibers. Viscosity measurement revealed its potential regarding the optimum values for solution spinnability. The morphology of electrospun fibres, obtained from 0.5wt% CS and 6wt% PCL, is shown in Fig.1. The as-produced membranes consisted of fine fibres (~250 nm) with little variations in diameter. Furthermore, physico-chemical, thermal and mechanical properties were assessed. The regenerative potential of PCL/CS membranes, towards enhancing attachment, viability and extracellular matrix production of human fibroblasts, were also evaluated. This preliminary work demonstrates that the use of needless electrospinning, with a blend of CS/PCL solutions, has potential for novel surgical meshes as treatments for POP.

References: 1. Machin SE and Mukhopadhyay S, “Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Review of the Aetiology, Presentation, Diagnosis and Management,” Menopause Int 17 (4), (2011); 2. Gigliobianco G et al., “Biomaterials for Pelvic Floor Reconstructive Surgery: How Can We Do Better?” BioMed Research International, e968087 (April, 2015).


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