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Intentional control of mineralized ECM deposition in bone tissue engineering (bonECMonitor)
Start date: Sep 1, 2013, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

World-wide, an estimated 2.2 million grafting procedures are performed each year. Bone tissue engineering has started off with the intent to replace auto- and allografts and regenerate bone through the use of cells with the aid of supporting structures and/or biomolecules. The field has shifted its focus in recent years from the attempt to generate functional implants towards the broader generation of an initial understanding of the interplay between these input parameters that are known influencing each other in various ways. The proposed research is situated in the field of tissue engineering combined with computational simulation of the timely development of the growing tissue. It aims at providing a simplified experimental setup that allows the variation of a few input parameters in a controlled way. Output parameter is the mineralized extracellular matrix (ECM) deposited by the cells that is assessed with longitudinal micro-computed tomography. Computational simulation is performed to generate an in silico model to ultimately predict the effect of influential parameters on in vitro mineralized ECM deposition. Within the project, reproducible scaffold geometries with defined structural parameters will be generated and evaluated for their in vitro influence on human mesenchymal stem cells under static and mechanically loaded conditions. The input parameters of the experiments are divided into fixed parameters that are set at the beginning of the culture and flexible parameters that can be adapted throughout the in vitro culture. Both types of parameters will serve as input parameters for computational simulations of the developing tissue. Through the understanding which parameters and perturbations influence tissue development in vitro, future translational approaches shall enable predictions on how to promote a healing response in a patient.

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