Peptide Hydrogels are playing an increasingly important role in the field of regenerative medicine. Here we will look at what they are and the valuable functions they occupy to assist us.
Peptide Hydrogels provide a synthetically accessible scaffold platform. They are the primary signalling language in the extracellular matrix (ECM) to support the biological activity of cells when combined with the functioning sequences from signal cells. Tissue engineering is more successful as peptide hydrogels can provide more consistent and repeatable scaffolds.
Tissue engineering provides the replacement organs and tissues crucial to many surgical procedures, and much medical advancement has been made using peptide hydrogels as scaffolds to support its regeneration. Generating new tissue requires three components, cells, a scaffold and signalling molecules such as cytokines and growth factors primarily.
A look into regenerative medicine procedures benefitting from Peptide hydrogels.
Nerve regeneration – Peptide Hydrogels research proves that peptide hydrogel synthetic scaffolds provide a viable alternative approach for peripheral nerve regeneration. They effectively support the culture and chemical differentiation towards a Schwann cell-like phenotype that is the crucial cell involved in nerve regeneration. Trauma
As applications for peptide hydrogels are becoming more widely proven, regeneration of nerve cells and future bioengineered nerve grafts applications will enable synthetic scaffold peptide hydrogels to replace the need for harvesting healthy patient nerves to treat nerve and nerve cell damage. Current treatments involving autografting nerves can cause problems with donor site morbidity when taking grafts from healthy areas. Using synthetic scaffolds to build essential cells avoids the need to harvest healthy human tissue and the associated risks.
Oesophageal Strictures – Oesophageal cancer is the 8th most common cancer, developing when Barrett’s oesophagus remains untreated. Current treatment requires risky removal of the pre-cancerous cells as left untreated, they risk damaging neighbouring healthy cells, causing fibrotic strictures. Medical research proves peptide hydrogels’ effectiveness through successful co-culturing in both rat oesophageal stromal fibroblasts and mouse oesophageal epithelial cells. Peptide hydrogels act as a support for functional epithelial sheet formation. This is hailed as a promising mucoadhesive treatment for Barrett’s oesophagus stricture management. The ability to spray the pre-cancerous cell areas endoscopically is a far less medically invasive procedure than has previously been available.
Gastro-intestinal Organoid Growth – Kidney organoids have been successfully grown using peptide hydrogels to provide a disease-free ECM to support the growth of both fully formed liver and gastro organoids for up to 27 days. Such successful development allows for scalable and readily reproducible results, significantly impacting the potential to use peptide hydrogels further to give reliable results during pharmacological and toxicology pre-clinical studies. Pre-clinical organoid formations have required ECM’s often derived from tumorigenic sources, thus considerably limiting scalability and translational data. Peptide hydrogels provide a scalable, reproducible synthetic animal-free solution supporting the demand to reduce, refine and replace the number of animals involved in clinical advancement.
Peptide hydrogels have shown both successes and promise to transform the approach and results achieved in regenerative medicine. They can provide a cost-effective, scalable and reproducible scaffold that enables adequate in-vivo and in-vitro tissue and organ regeneration to support tissue growth and mimic healthy organ tissues. Clinical studies harness the tuneable properties of peptide hydrogel scaffolds to create an ideal environment for growth in an animal-free synthetic environment. We can now bridge the gap and understand optimal conditions for organoid growth, enabling progressive toxicity testing and drug discovery. The ability to regenerate tissue and gastro-intestinal organs is an exciting development that can change the shape of nerve repair and organ or possibly limb transplants of the future.