Growth Factors Now Deliverable Through Electrospinning
Treatment costs for chronic conditions are expected to increase significantly worldwide in the next decade. Among them, conditions such as diabetes, peripheral circulation disorders, chronic ulcers, and inflammation have seen a consistent increase in incidents in recent years. Along with factors such as the global rate of obesity and increasing life expectancy, the increasing number of people with these conditions can be attributed to the aging population of the world.
These conditions often stem from a lack of growth factor in the body -- a biologically active molecule that contributes to cell growth and proliferation. A lack of this molecule leads to an increase in the time that it takes for a patient to heal and, as a result, is often accompanied by additional complications.
Through electrospinning, researchers at the National Tsing Hua University have developed a nanofiber scaffold capable of consistent growth factor delivery over the course of a month. The aim of this scaffold is to increase the rate of vascularization -- the growth of blood vessels -- in patients lacking sufficient levels of growth factor by providing supplemental amounts of the molecule at the site of the injury.
Similarly, electrospinning also offers a solution to the limitations of autografts as treatments for musculoskeletal conditions in surgical operations such as bone grafts, knee repairs, ACL reconstructions, and rotator cuff reconstructions. Though autografts -- grafts of tissue pertaining to the same human -- have proven to be an effective method of treatment for these conditions, the procedure still suffers from a low availability of suitable autograft candidates for many conditions and introduces the risk of infection for the patient. In recent trials, electrospun scaffolds have shown a notable ability to mimic the structure of tissue-specific Extracellular Matrices (ECM) and increase the presence of signaling molecules at the site of an injury through the release of growth factor, improving the recovery process after these operations.
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