This month’s top grants in regenerative medicine, sourced from Dimensions, includes projects on: using advanced stem cell-based technologies to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration; investigating a stem cell regulatory factor for myeloid cell expansion and function in ovarian cancer; developing a novel regenerative rehabilitation strategy for spinal cord injuries; instructing stem cell to differentiate spatially within a 3D-bioprinted construct for osteochondral tissue formation; and exploring new approaches to create antibacterial bilayered skin grafts to achieve full-tissue restoration of the epidermis and dermis.
Check out this month’s top grants in regenerative medicine:
- Advanced stem cell-based technologies to elucidate mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration
- Investigating a stem cell regulatory factor for myeloid cell expansion and function in ovarian cancer
- A novel regenerative rehabilitation strategy for spinal cord injuries
- Cell-instructive smart bioinks for tissue and organ printing
- Antimicrobial bioprinted skin tissue engineered constructs for wound regeneration
Advanced stem cell-based technologies to elucidate mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration
While significant progress has been made in understanding the pathomechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the molecular and cellular mechanisms remain poorly understood. This research project aims to combine the use of a chimeric model, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based patient-specific brain organoids, transcriptomics, epigenetics and genetic editing approaches to better understand the molecular and cellular aberrations underlying Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis.
It is anticipated that this research will uncover novel molecular, cellular and functional mechanisms that govern Alzheimer’s disease pathology, which could provide a basis for developing further therapeutic strategies.
Funding amount: $USD2 million
Funding period: 1 February 2021–31 January 2026
Funder: European Research Council
Research organization: Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)
Investigating a stem cell regulatory factor for myeloid cell expansion and function in ovarian cancer
EGFL6 – a poorly studied stem cell regulatory factor – is known to regulate not only ovarian cancer stem-like cell migration and differentiation but also tumor angiogenesis. However, it remains unclear how EGFL6 impacts the immune system.
In this research proposal, the investigators will use genetic and pharmacologic approaches to determine which integrins mediate Egfl6-dependent bone marrow granulocytic and monocytic cell proliferation, migration and their differentiation into myeloid-derived suppressor cell and tumor-associated macrophage phenotypes.
Funding amount: $USD450,000
Funding period: 1 February 2021–31 January 2024
Funder: Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance
Research organization: Mangee-Womens Research Institute (PA, USA)
A novel regenerative rehabilitation strategy for spinal cord injuries
Researchers have developed a novel regenerative rehabilitation strategy combining locomotor training with testosterone replacement therapy for spinal cord injuries. Preclinical data from the team has already indicated that locomotor training plus testosterone replacement training produces more complete muscle and bone recovery than each individual component of this strategy on its own and promotes locomotor recovery when implemented in rodent models with spinal cord injury.
The aim of this research project is to translate these findings into a small first-in-human pilot study to assess the feasibility of implementing locomotor training plus testosterone replacement training.
Funding amount: $USD300,000
Funding period: 31 January 2021–30 January 2023
Funder: Craig H Neilsen Foundation
Research organizations: University of Florida, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital (all FL, USA)
Cell-instructive smart bioinks for tissue and organ printing
Bioprinting offers the potential to construct highly complex and patient-specific tissues and organs as well as tissue interfaces. However, one of the major bottlenecks that hinders bioprinting of fully functional tissues and organs is the lack of diverse bioinks that can mimic the dynamic properties of the native tissue.
This project aims to investigate materials design strategies to create smart bioinks to address this gap, and to apply these bioinks for printing of fully functional osteochondral tissues. One of the fundamental research questions that they hope to answer revolves around how to instruct stem cells to differentiate spatially within a 3D-bioprinted construct towards osteochondral tissue formation.
Funding amount: $USD100,000
Funding period: 1 February 2021–31 January 2026
Funder: Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences
Research organization: New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJ, USA)
Antimicrobial bioprinted skin tissue engineered constructs for wound regeneration
This project aims to provide new approaches to create antibacterial bilayered skin grafts to achieve full restoration of both the epidermis and dermis. The main goal of this proposal is to address the main limitations preventing full-tissue restoration.
In order to achieve this, the team will be anchoring newly developed antimicrobial conjugates into a 3D-bioprinted biopolymer matrix comprising embedded primary human keratinocytes and fibroblasts. This project will use the combination of engineered skin with chemically designed antimicrobial biomaterials that could drastically reduce mortality among patients with chronic wounds or burns.
Funding amount: N/A
Funding period: 1 February 2021–31 January 2023
Funder: Swiss National Science Foundation
Research organization: University of Oxford (UK)
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