The role of decellularised ECM proteins in the biological direction of ligament cells on a polymer/ECM scaffold

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Engineering and Physical Sciences


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries account for 40% of all sports-related procedures. Typically an autograft is used however these come with several disadvantages. Current synthetic ligaments have low clinical uptake due to failures.
Electrospinning of degradable polymers such as PCL can be used to fabricate aligned structures that mimic the ligament architecture. However, while providing good physical and topographical cues they lack biological cues to stimulate matrix production. We hypothesise that by fabricating electrospun hybrids of degradable polymer and extracellular matrix (from decellularised ligament) these will provide both physical and biological cues and enhance ligament healing.
Similar hybrids have been used for other applications, but not yet for ligament. Interestingly the literature shows that the addition of ECM powder increases the tensile strength of the polymer fibres. The mechanical properties of the synthetic ligaments are critical to their potential as a ligament repair technology, aswell as their ability to stimulate effective matrix production.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022201/1 01/04/2019 30/09/2027
2262185 Studentship EP/S022201/1 08/09/2019 30/09/2023 Dominic Andrew Williams