LOS ANGELES, June 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent in that they naturally replenish the cell types that build our bone, cartilage and adipose tissues. Their regenerative potential makes them exquisite candidates for cell-based therapies. However, clinicians often need to administer massive numbers of MSCs to reach sufficient numbers of cells that successfully engraft and remain functional over time.
Now, a new study in Advanced Functional Materials by a team at the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation in Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has reported a minimally-invasive approach, which deploys an array of "microneedles" that provide a bioactive depot of MSCs. By embedding MSCs in a gel-like material that prolongs their viability and functionality, and targeting damaged tissues with high spatial precision, the researchers showed their approach to accelerate wound healing in a mouse model with excised skin segments.
"Microneedles have been successfully used in the past to painlessly deliver drugs to target tissues such as skin, blood vessels and eyes. We demonstrate here with 'Detachable Microneedle Depots' that an analogous approach can deploy therapeutic cells at target sites," said co-corresponding author Ali Khademhosseini, the Director and CEO of the Terasaki Institute.
The team set out to investigate their microneedle concept in a mouse skin wound model in which a defined excision is made in the epidermal tissue layers. To be able to strategically place individual microneedles within the wound bed, a simple and effective deployment mechanism was devised by attaching an array of microneedles on a small strip of scotch tape with their pointed ends facing away from the tape. Precisely positioning the tape with its patterned microneedle surface on the wound, allowed the individual microneedles to penetrate into the wound bed. Then, the tape was peeled off, causing the microneedles to detach and remain embedded in the wound tissue.
"The concept would even be compatible with using patient-derived cells in more personalized device approaches," said Khademhosseini who is exploring further uses of this technology as part of the Terasaki Institute's research program.
The Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (terasaki.org) is a non-profit research organization that invents and fosters practical solutions that restore or enhance the health of individuals.
SOURCE Terasaki Institute