The aim of the research to be developed is to create biodegradable polymer matrices to be used as skin scaffolds using radiation technology. To achieve that we propose the preparation/sterilization of three-dimensional biocompatible and biodegradable polymeric matrices, choosen for their favourable properties regarding wound healing, using the unique properties of ionizing radiation . Our strategy to engineer those instructive scaffolds is based on a solid know-how, cooperative research work between the multidisciplinary team members and on the application of ionizing radiation, from which we have a large experience, to obtain advantage over more conventional techniques/technologies (such as the inexistence of initiatiors or solvents when polymerization is carried out by usual chemical procedures and the possibility of preparation and sterilization in one single step). The ideal scaffold should be a biomimetic, multilayered 3-D structure, comprising dermal and epidermal equivalents. The main polymers to be used in the production of the scaffolds, chitosan, poly(vinyl alcohol), poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) and poly(ϵ-caprolactone), possess biological and/or mechanical properties with demonstrated interest regarding biocompatibility and skin wound healing.
Our research will give particular emphasis to:
1) Evaluation/optimization of preparation conditions to obtain biocompatible/biodegradable polymeric crosslinked networks by ionizing radiation. Includes selection of the most suitable monomers/crosslinkers and optimization of irradiation parameters;
2) Bioburden evaluation and validation of the sterilization process;
3) Biocompatibility evaluation of the obtained scaffolds (citocitoxicity, cellular viability, attachment, proliferation and morphology);
4) Validation of in vitro results by in vivo regenerating studies in Whistar rats with the selected scaffolds, following all technical and ethical rules mandatory in the use of experimentation animals.
International Atomic Energy Agency.
The project involves the work of 4 Researchers. Three of them (Maria Helena Casimiro, Luís Ferreira and Sandra Cabo Verde) are researchers from the Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares, Campus Tecnológico e Nuclear, Instituto Superior Técnico while one (Gabriela Rodrigues) is a member of CE3C.