Spider silk for soft tissue engineering


The overall aim of this project is the use of spider silk for soft tissue engineering for the treatment of joint injuries, more specifically cartilage, meniscus and tendon defects. Such defects constitute around 15% of hospitalisations in developed countries, and their impact is still growing with increased ageing and popularity of recreational sports. Current reparation techniques frequently result in scar tissue of inferior quality. Many synthetic degradable and non-degradable polymeric biomaterials have been successfully utilized in medical applications. However, limitations in the diversity of the chemical composition, the non-degradable nature of some of these polymers, and problems associated with the hydrolysis products of others, make alternative biomaterials desirable. One possibility to cultivate human cells in a temporarily biodegradable and biocompatible matrix is provided by the fibroin structure synthesized by spiders. Spider silk is characterized by a high structural diversity, a unique combination of high strength and high elongation, lightness and the possibility to be processed in nonwovens with variable porosity. Preliminary studies on spider silk suggest that cartilage cells adhere to spider silk and maintain their phenotype. The potential application of spider silk fibers in medical textiles may create opportunities for the development of new protein-based fibers. This opens a large field of research, in order to better take advantage of particular technical and morphological properties and a more environment-friendly attitude.



Arachnida {Taxonomical scope}


Name Role Start End
Matheve, Hans admin
Beladjal, Lynda promotor


Name Role Start End
Terrestrial Ecology leader

created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:web

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