Project: Ultrasound-mediated gene transfer in 3-D hydrogel matices for tissue regeneration

Background: Although it has been suggested that gene transfer together with stem cell technology/tissue engineering may provide the basis for revolutionary new treatments ranging from organ replacement to radical new orthopedic treatment approaches for trauma patients, current evidence suggest that clinical exploitation is some way down the line. A major bottle neck in developing such systems is that in situ gene transfer cannot be accomplished on cell targets that reside in 3-D matrices without using viral gene transfer systems (which can have long-term adverse effects for the patient) or using invasive non-viral technologies (which can disrupt the structural architecture of the regenerated tissues). Even if one wished to exploit these systems, it would first be necessary to perform gene transfer on target stem cells and then incorporate them into 3-D culture systems for further use. _x000D__x000D_The ideal scenario would be to perform the gene transfer event while the cells are housed in the 3-D matrices and to do this one would need a gene transfer stimulus that is non-invasive or would not disrupt the 3-D matrix. In practical research or clinical applications, such a system would enable non-invasive spatial control of tissue development at a 3-D level and this would, in turn provide an ability to design higher tissue architecture into applications relating to tissue generation (i.e. site-specific stimulation of blood vessel growth in new replacement tissues). Currently, systems do not exist to facilitate the above. At present, if a researcher wishes to establish such a system in their laboratory, they would require very specialised skilled expertise and very significant capital investment. This project will provide a kit-based solution precluding these requirements._x000D__x000D_SONIDEL Ltd. is active in the area of developing novel technologies that may assist developments in this area and currently supplies novel gene transfer technologies to the research and pre-clinical markets. In particular the company has sought to become a world leader in developing and supplying ultrasound gene transfer-based equipment and accessories to the market and has currently developed its own unique platform. The platform comprises an ultrasound-based stimulus (devices and wet lab. accessories) that can be employed to trigger gene transfer into living systems (cells and whole organisms/tissues) for applications such as gene therapy. For these purposes ultrasound is ideal because it can pass through living tissues with relative ease. The company further believes that this technology is ideally positioned to provide a solution to one of the major bottlenecks associated with the development of gene therapy/tissue engineering for applications in tissue regeneration. The Ps in this project (SONIDEL, TCC & BAX) have significant expertise in the areas such as 3-D cell culture-based matrices and in the area of stem cell differentiation for the purposes of tissue regeneration. _x000D__x000D_Objective: This project will draw the P expertise and technological capabilities together in order to design, develop and produce a kit-based solution to facilitate gene transfer in 3-D matrices for the purposes of tissue regeneration._x000D__x000D_The kit will be supplied to biomedical and clinical researchers that are active in areas such as gene therapy and tissue engineering and will additionally provide a rapid, low cost means of entry into this type of research for those that would not ordinarily become involved because of a lack of expertise, facilities or cost._x000D__x000D_Consortium: The consortium comprises SONIDEL Ltd., Dublin Ireland with expertise in devices and accessories associated with ultrasound-mediated gene transfer and Trauma Care Consult, Vienna, Austria with expertise in 3-D cell culture matrices and stem cell technology relating to tissue regeneration and Baxter Healthcare, Austria, which creates products to improve surgical practice through the development and use of novel biomaterials for hard and soft tissue-repair.

Acronym UGen (Reference Number: 5650)
Duration 01/06/2011 - 31/12/2013
Project Topic The project seeks to develop a kit-based product that enables ultrasound-triggered gene transfer into hydrogel-entrapped stem cells for the purposes of tissue regeneration. The kit-based product will be provided to biomedical/clinical research-based markets.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
1. Components for an ultrasound-activatable kit-based solution to one aspect of tissue regeneration (bone formation) have been tested and optimised._x000D_2. Functionality of the kit-based system has be demonstrated in vitro and in vivo for bone regeneration._x000D_3. Patent (at the examination stage)
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 4

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 Trauma Care Consult Partner Austria
3 Baxter Healthcare Partner Austria
3 SONIDEL Limited Coordinator Ireland