Research Projects


Method of treatment of large bone defects in oncological patients using in vivo tissue engineering approach

Acronym: iTE

Number: STRATEGMED3/306888/3/NCBR/2017

Program: STRATEGMED3

Finance Unit: NCBR (National Centre for Research and Development)

Project manager: dr hab. inż. Wojciech Święszkowski, prof. PW

Function: Project Leader

Term: 2017 – 2020

Project description:
The main goal of the project is to develop a novel scaffold-based in vivo tissue engineering approach to regenerate large bone defects (iTE) in oncological patients. In the first stage, after removal of the bone tumor, a novel drug delivery spacer will be implanted to mandible to restore defect site, and, in the same time, to cure possible infection and support radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. In the same time a novel bioactive and biodegradable 3D scaffold will be implanted within ectopic site of patient body capable of supporting neo-tissue formation. After a new bone tissue will be generated in vivo, the spacer will be removed, and the prefabricated flap (tissue engineering product) will be harvested and implanted in mandibular defect offering both physiological performance and aesthetic improvements. To achieve that, a novel 3D printed spacer, bioactive scaffold, and method of enrichment implants with bioactive agents, will be proposed and evaluated based on extensive in vitro and in vivo (small and large animal models) investigations.


3D bioprinting of living pancreatic islets or insulin-produced cells into scaffolds of bionic pancreas

Acronym: BIONIC

Number: STRATEGMED3/305813/2/NCBR/2017

Program: STRATEGMED3

Finance Unit: NCBR (National Centre for Research and Development)

Project manager: Foundation of Research and Science Development

Term: 2017 – 2019

Project description:

In Poland, there are more than 2,5 millions diabetic patients, 200,000 of which are with type I. According to WHO’s, by 2030 these numbers will double. Islets transplantation is of a limited use because of ischemic injury. The isolation process, by stripping the islets of their vasculature and surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) results in that, than 50% of transplanted islets are lost during the first few days. Bioprinting is extremely promising. Medical community, have already transplanted trachea and bladder 3Dbioprinted. There are a few weak points to be solved to achieve a 3Dprinted scaffold with islets. Bioengineered hydrogels allow to print islets and to keep them alive but function of those is limited. Another problem is the lack of vasculature. The main aim of the study is to 3D-bioprint a functional bionic pancreas consisted of proper ECM for islets, vasculature and islets or even further–insulin producing cells retrieved from the recipient. Results of our work might be helpful in planning to produce a completely new product – Human Bionic Pancreas.


Bioengineered in vitro model of retinal pigmented epithelium
of human eye

BIOMEMEBRANE

M-era_Net

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Acronym: BIOMEMBRANE

Number: 2016/23/Z/ST8/04375

Program: UNISONO

Finance Unit: NCN (National Science Center)

Project managers: dr hab. inż. Wojciech Święszkowski, prof. PW

Function: Consortium Member 

Term: 2017 – 2020

One of the greatest challenges of European research on macular degeneration starts from Pisa. The “E. Piaggio” Research Centre at the University of Pisa is the coordinator of the BIOMEMBRANE research project, which aims to produce a “bionic eye” (using micro and nanofabricated bioactive materials) to test the efficacy of drugs and develop personalized therapies for maculopathy.

The project has recently received about 500,000 euro in funding in the context of Mera.Net, the EU funded network designed to support and increase the coordination of European research programs and related funding in the field of materials science and engineering, in which Poland is actively involved through the The National Science Centre (NCN). Prof. Wojciech Święszkowski is the Polish coordinator of the project.

“In the three years of the project we will create intelligent biostructures integrated into a biomedical platform able to mimic the structures of the eye to optimize pharmaceutical tests and personalize the therapies for macular degeneration”, explained Giovanni Vozzi, University of Pisa. “The device will have a major impact on healthcare costs as new materials and related in vitro models will be less costly than the ones currently in use”, concluded Vozzi.

The project involves the Warsaw University of Technology (Poland), the University of Pisa (Italy), the New University of Lisbon (Portugal), and the companies SNC Fibers (South Africa) and Allinky Biopharma (Spain).

Project description:

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly worldwide: although it does not cause total blindness, there is a progressive loss of high-acuity vision attributable to degenerative and neovascular changes in the macula. Currently, there is neither a cure nor a means to prevent AMD. New discoveries, however, are beginning to provide a much clearer picture of the relevant cellular events and biochemical processes associated with early AMD and the ageing process in general. Although we do have a basic understanding of some of the processes involved in extra-cellular ageing, what comes first and what triggers what is still unclear. Four key phenomena are known to contribute to extracellular senescence: matrix stiffening due to cross-linking and fibrosis, a shift in the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation/scavenging balance, neovascularization and inflammation. The main objective of BIOMEMBRANE project is the design and fabrication of an alternative and smart in vitro model to boost the discovery of new therapeutic strategies for age-related macular degeneration. The development of an in vitro model of retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) interfaced to choroidal vascular network (CVN) is expected to provide a more reliable device for the pharmaceutical testing and the evaluation of custom therapies for each patient. This device, developed during the project, will have an important impact on health care costs as the new materials and the related in vitro models are expected to be more economic than the current testing system. To reach the goal, BIOMEMBRANE project will make use of innovative micro- and nano-fabrication system with bioactive materials to mimic the physiological role played by the Bruch’s membrane (BrM), the interface between CVN and RPE. Not only efficacy, standardisation and biocompatibility will be considered, but also the fidelity to reproduce the interface between RPE and the underlying vascular network, as most oxygen and nutrient supply to the outer retina is provided by the choroid. To mimic the topology of this eye structure two different micro and nanofabrication techniques will be combined. The BrM will be assembled using an electrospinning system able to produce an unwoven structure made of fibre with nanometers resolution and with a well-defined porosity at micro and nano level: this structure will be able to mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM) topology, which in turn affects the permeability of this cell-free barrier. The CVN will be designed as a branched microfluidic network, which will be fabricated using a soft lithographic approach. The bioactivity of the bioengineered structures will be improved with SOFT-MI method, by imprinting bioactive sites able to bond selectively selected biomolecules for enhancing cell functions. The cellularized bioengineered RPE and CVN substitutes will be integrated in a unique milli-structure, of the same size of a classic well for cell culture and connected to a peristaltic pump, to be the first biomimetic and dynamic in vitro model of this barrier. The concept of smart multiscale biostructures integrated in a bioengineered platform able to mimic eye’s structures, such as that we will create in BIOMEMBRANE project, will render the European biomaterials, pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries more productive and dynamic. At present these industries are struggling with regulatory issues, due to the fact that their products must comply with stringent pre-clinical testing requirements. Here we propose a novel biotechnological platform aimed at reducing experimental time and costs by mimicking a physiopathological environment difficult to analyse in vivo and develop custom in vitro tests for drug therapy efficacy.


Multidisciplinary European training network for development
of personalized anti-infective medical devices combining printing technologies and antimicrobial unctionality

Acronym: PRINT-AID

Number: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016

Program: European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 722467

Finance Unit: Horizon 2020

Project manager: dr Karita Peltonen, University of Helsinki

Function: Consortium Member 

Term: 2016-2020

Project description:

The mission of PRINT-AID is to provide multi-disciplinary training in microbial biofilms, 3D-printing technologies and in vivo infection models. PRINT-AID consortium will offer a training programme for early-stage researchers to exploit the power of emerging technologies in order to explore innovative routes to counteract biofilm caused infections in medical devices. Our aim is to proof the value of developing a new generation of safer 3D-printed personalised medical devices with antimicrobial functionalities. We are going to use investigational drugs which inhibit bacterial colonisation or kill bacteria. These compounds will be incorporated in the medical device structure itself during the 3D printing process and they are expected to be released from there during a long period of time. By using 3D-printing, we can also customise the devices to fit the needs of the patients. The chances of this project to provide a safer alternative for pharma devices are really significant. In the project, state-of-the-art printing technologies will be combined with new in vitro and in vivo biofilm models as well as new tools for data integration and standardisation. The project brings together the leaders of their own areas in the personalised medicine and medical devices sector. The students have an opportunity to work both in the collaborating companies and in academia.The project also offers great opportunities for young researchers to move from academy into industry and vice versa, and get exposed to both environments.


Promoting patient safety by a novel combination of imaging technologies for biodegradable magnesium implants

Acronym: MgSafe

Number: MgSafe H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018 Grant agreement ID: 811226

Program: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN-ETN)

Finance Unit: Horizon 2020

Project manager: dr hab. inż. Wojciech Święszkowski, prof. PW

Function: Consortium Member 

Term: 2018-2022

Project description:

MgSafe is a European Training Network within the framework of Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) 2018. Within this action, 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) address the optimisation of imaging technologies for biodegradable magnesium implants. Fractures are typically treated with non‐degradable metal implants, which commonly require surgical removal after complete bone healing. From the health care and patients’ point of view, degradable implants provide a viable, cost effective and patient friendly alternative. In 2013, the first degradable metal implant made from a Mg‐alloy (compression screw of partner SYNTELLIX) was CE certified and has be implanted into several 100 patients so far. Monitoring implant performance and degradation with the existing imaging techniques is a challenge. The ESRs of MgSafe will push the imaging modalities towards their limits to monitor the degradation processes of emerging Mg implants optimally and non‐invasively in animal models with high spatial and temporal resolution. The results of MgSafe will substantially increase the level of safety for patients currently treated with Mg‐based implants and will boost the further development of imaging modalities also on a clinical level. MgSafe will educate a new generation of young researchers needed for the development of high‐tech medical devices.


Novel scaffold-based tissue engineering approaches to healing and regeneration of tendons and ligaments

Acronym: START

Number: STRATEGMED1/233224/10/NCBR/2014

Program: STRATEGMED1

Finance Unit: NCBR (National Centre for Research and Development)

Project manager: dr hab. inż. Wojciech Święszkowski, prof. PW

Function: Project Leader

Term: 2014 – 2018

Project description:

Despite advances in treatment of tendon and ligament injuries, which are the most common musculoskeletal disorders that clinicians address daily, the question of optimal treatment is still unanswered. The main aim of the project is to develop a novel scaffold-based tissue engineering approaches to healing and regeneration of tendons and ligaments (START). We hypothesize that in situ guided personalized tissue engineering, where smart, biodegradable patient/case–specific scaffold is used to provide biomimetic 3D micro- and nano-environments, and delivery required molecules and stem cells, would enhance the tendon/ligament regeneration. The bioactive scaffold will also recruit and stimulate endogenous stem/progenitor cells to assist tissue formation. Additionally, the scaffold, due to its special construction, will allow for continuous in situ modulation of regeneration by providing directly to injury site the stem cells, cytokines, and by applying mechanical stimulation to the tissue throughout whole time of therapy. The modulation will depend on results of in situ biomarkers analyzes. The START will also require the establishment of new non-invasive imaging and analytical techniques for in situ monitoring of regeneration processes. Implementing such multidisciplinary strategies for tissue engineering should greatly enhance the efficacy of treatment of tendon/ligament disorders.


Development of the first Polish complementary molecular navigation system for surgical oncologic treatment

Acronym: MentorEye

Number: STATEGMED1/233624/4/NCBR/2014

Program: STRATEGMED1

Finance Unit: NCBR (National Centre for Research and Development)

Project manager: dr hab. inż. Wojciech Święszkowski, prof. PW

Function: Consortium Member 

Term: 2014 – 2018

Project description:

Aim of this project is creating and preparing for implementation, a novel, computer-molecular method of surgical navigation system for oncologic diseases treatment. Oncologic diseases are second cause of death in Poland and reason of 17% of disabilities. Development of proposed technologies leads to achieving significant progress in overcoming oncologic diseases including both, prophylaxis and treatment. It is based on results of scientific researches on personalization in treatment. The project is concentrated on invention a novel system of surgical navigation supported by molecular mechanisms of neoplastic rAAV vectors, for intraoperative precise marking of the tumour and its radical resection. The role of WUT is the development of physical markers for registration of physical localization of the tumor and navigation in the MentorEye system.


Multifunctional composite nanofibrous biomaterials for peripheral nerve tissue engineering

Acronym: Nano4Nerves

Number: 2013/11/B/ST8/03401

Program: OPUS 6

Finance Unit: NCN (National Science Center)

Project manager: dr hab. inż. Wojciech Święszkowski, prof. PW

Function: Project Leader

Term: 2014 – 2018

Project description:

The main aim of this project is to develop and evaluate novel multifunctional composite nanofibrous
biomaterials (MCNB) mimicking composition and micro- and nanostructure of natural extracellular matrix (ECM) of nerve tissue, and having current-carrying capacity and the capability of localized and controlled release of bio-active agents. The authors hypothesized that such novel biomaterials would enhance ability of neuronal differentiation potential of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC) in direction of peripheral nerve regeneration both in vitro and in vivo. Two types of the MCNB will be developed and tested: the components blended (BL) and core-shell structured (C/S) composite nanofibrous biomaterials. The both types of MCNB will be fabricated using modified electrospinning methods and will be composed of biodegradable aliphatic polyesters, conductive polymers, natural proteins, and growth factors. The biodegradable polyester such as poly(l-lactic acid-co-ε-caprolactone), P(LLA-CL), will form a matrix of the biomaterials. To achieve a current-carrying capacity, the P(LLA-CL) will be enriched with optimal, non-toxic conductive material selected from the group of two polymers: polyaniline and polypyrrole. To mimic the chemical composition of ECM the biomaterials will also consist of the one of the bio-active natural polymers like collagen, laminin, or fibronectin. To assure the capability of localized and controlled release of bio-active agents the growth factors (GFs) will be encapsulated in the matrix of BL MCNB or in the core of C/S MCNB. The physicochemical, mechanical and electrical properties of the developed biomaterials will be characterized to define the optimal composition and structure of the BL and C/S composites. To evaluate the project hypothesis the both in vitro and in vivo studies using the both types of MNBC will be performed. In vitro biocompatibility and bioactivity of the novel biomaterials in presence of ADSC and electrical potential will be examined. The effects of the method of encapsulation differing kinetics of release of growth factor or the presence of conductive material in nanofibers on the ADSC morphology, growth, and differentiation on novel MCNB will be investigated. The influence of conductivity on GF release will be also evaluated. Additionally, the bio-functionality of the MCNB in the form of 3D tubular structure (scaffold) will be tested in vivo in small animal model – rats. The special method will be elaborated to evaluate behaviour of the novel scaffolds in vivo. A new knowledge on mechanisms of in vivo tissue regeneration in the presence of smart scaffolds and ADSC is expected.


Consolidation of 3D printing, cell biology and material technology for the development of bioprinted meat – a prototype study

Acronym: 3DMuscle

Number: PL-TWIII/5/2016

Program: Polish-Taiwanese contest

Finance Unit: NCBR (National Centre for Research and Development)

Project managers: dr hab. inż. Wojciech Święszkowski, prof. PW and prof. FengHuei Lin

Function: Consortium Member 

Term: 2016 – 2019

Project description:

The prospect of lab-grown meat has intrigued both vegetarians and environmentalists for years. The bioprinted meat would be expected to satisfy a natural human craving for animal protein in a more environmentally-friendly way. Chitosan is a derivative of the naturally occurring carbohydrate chitin and consists of beta 1– 4 linked glucosamine units with varying amounts of N-acetylated units. We have chosen Chitosan, since chitosan dietary supplement purported to decrease body weight and serum lipids through gastrointestinal fat binding. A negatively charged sodium triphosphate (TPP) will be used as a toxic-free ionic crosslinker to interact with polycationic chitosan via ionic gelation. Followed by, the purified soybean protein (SP) will be introduced into the mixture since it may contain about 90% protein on a dry weight basis. There are no known side-effects are associated with the proposed formulation and it appears to be extremely safe. The proposed idea is similar to that of machines that can assemble edible substances like chocolate, sugar and syrup into a paste or any final product with a desired shape. Here, we intend to use the concept of tissue or organ printing often described as bioprinting to produce an in-vitro edible meat.


Development of a Bone Tumor Model with 3D Printed and Lyophilized Scaffolds

Acronym: BonTuMod

Number: 2/POLTUR-1/2016

Program: Polish-Turkish contest

Finance Unit: NCBR (National Centre for Research and Development)

Project manager: dr hab. inż. Wojciech Święszkowski, prof. PW

Function: Project Leader

Term: 2016 – 2018

Project description:

Osteosarcoma is the most common cancerous tumor in a bone. The structure of this tumor is solid, hard and irregular. The tumor tissue is composed of osteocytes, which have lost the normal p53 function. The aim of the project is to use a tissue engineering approach to develop a 3D bone tumor model in vitro and to test its ability to serve as a model in the treatment by using conventional therapeutic approaches such as controlled drug delivery. Two different types of 3D scaffolds will be used to grow osteosarcoma under in vitro conditions. After the fabrication of the 3D PLGA/TCP scaffolds, they will be seeded with Saos2 cells (osteosarcoma) together with HOB (Human osteoblast cells) and HUVEC (Human umbilical vein endothelial cells) to mimic the tumor tissue. Vascularization profile in both models will be obtained by the using of angiogenic factors (e.g. Relaxin). A variety of analytical approaches such as SEM, μCT, mechanical testing, cell viability, histochemistry, and molecular analyses will be performed to assess the effectiveness of the in vitro bone tumor mimic. Responsiveness of the developed models to cytotoxic drugs will be studied as an indicator of proper representation of bone tumor. It is expected that the developed 3D tumor model would help establish a more physiological environment for high throughput drug testing and development. Moreover, it could also be used in personalized medicine by selection the most effective drugs for individual patients using patient’s own cells in the 3D model.


INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION

Biomaterials for bone tissue engineering, improvement of biocompatibility and bioactivity by low temperature plasma treatment

NCBiR #PL-TWII/2015, „Polish-Taiwanese/Taiwanese-Polish Joint Research Call”

Hybrid growth factors delivery system supporting bone tissue regeneration

The main objective of the project is to develop a hybrid growth factors delivery system (HSDCW) for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The system will mimics the structure and function of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and delivers a controlled growth factors at the implantation site supporting the regeneration of bone tissue. HSDCW be formed from biodegradable polymeric nanofibres, which will contain both the bioceramic nanoparticles and at least two growth factors, for example: bone morphogenic protein – BMP and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Doses, kinetics of release and sequencing of release will be controlled by the construction of the nanofibers as well as the entire three-dimensional hybrid delivery system.

Duration: 13.12.2011 – 12.12.2015 (Harmonia NCN project # 2011/01/M/ST8/07742)

NanoBRIDGES – Marie Curie IRSES Action

The project is aimed at creating a worldwide network of research partnerships, including various types of research organizations from EU and third countries, with different profiles (computational and empirical risk assessors), focused on the development of new tools for computational risk assessment of engineered nanoparticles (NPs) http://nanobridges.eu/

New-joint

“Tissue engineering of osteochondral implants for joint repair”

Project proposal is related to the health area which is one of the targeted research priorities of the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme.
http://new-joint.pl/en

STEPS (FP6- MAT-IP)

A Systems Approach To Tissue Engineering Processes And Products.
Tasks:
– Fabrication of polymeric scaffold.
– Modifications of the scaffold surface.

COST MP0701

International project notfunded (Ministry / NCN) to COST Action MP0701 for 2010-2012.Project Title: Development of methods for producing three-dimensional composites with polymeric matrix modified with nanoparticles.Project manager: dr. Michael J. Wozniak. Grant amount: 1 670 000 PLN.

KMM-NoE (FP6- MAT-NoE)

Knowledge-Based Multicomponent Materials For Durable And Safe Performance:
– Testing and modeling of biomaterials.

CELLFORCE (FP6- IST&NMP-STREP) – CellForce:

Development of a single cell based biosensor for subcellular on-line monitoring of cell performance for diagnosis and healthcare.

Tasks:
– Design device for measure a forces in the cell.

MC EST: JOIN(ed)T (MC FP6)

Joined Education for Tissue Engineering: a multidisciplinary approach to regenerate joints
Task:
– Development of scaffold.

ExActResoMat (FP6 IP for SME)

External Activation of Resorbable Materials:
Tasks:
– Develop the method for external activation of implant   resorbtion.

COST533 (COST Action FP6)

Biotribology: Materials for improved wear resistance of total artificial joints:
Task:
– New materials for articular surfaces in Total Joint Replacement.
– Improvement properties of UHMWPE.
– Wear testing of the total joint replacement.

COST537 (COST Action FP6)

Core laboratories for the improvement of medical devices in clinical practice from the failure of the explanted prostheses analysis (FEPA):
Tasks:
– Analysis of the wear and degradation of biomaterials used in vivo.
– Study of the metallic parts: corrosion, fatigue, fracture.
– Non-distractive methods for retrievals analysis.

BIONANOCORE (Era Net Matera)

Bioactive Nanocomposite Constructs for Regeneration of Articular Cartilage:
Tasks:
– Cartilage Tissue Engineering.

RSHI-DLC-nanocomp (Era Net Matera)

Improvement of resurfacing hip implants with DLC, TiO2 and DLC-p-h nanocomposite coatings

Bilateral grant with Singapore

In vivo bone engineering via combining a novel composite scaffold technology with a growth factor potentiating collagen/heparan sulphate.

Plasma-­Bone‐BioMater

Biomaterials for Bone Tissue Engineering, Improvement of Biocompatibility and Bioactivity by Low Temperature Plasma Treatment. Project acronym: Plasma-Bone-BioMater. Polish-Taiwanese/Taiwanese-Polish Joint Research Call NCBR-MOST. 2015 – 2017.

AFM4NanoMed&Bio

Network on applications of Atomic Force Microscopy to NanoMedicine and Life Sciences COST Action TD1002 (AFM4NanoMed&Bio).


NATIONAL PROJECTS

DentalProt

“Biodegradable dental prosthesis, supporting preservation of the alveolar ridge after tooth extraction”

Grant: UMO-2011/01/B/ST8/07559 (OPUS, National Science Center of Poland)

“Three-dimensional composite scaffolds based on degradable polymers and bioceramics incorporated with the growth factors for bone tissue engineering”
Project Manager: Dr inż. Michał J. Woźniak
Funding: 999 800 PLN.

Project Iuventus Plus MNiSW

“Biomateriały kompozytowe polimer-ceramika, o strukturze naśladującej macierz pozakomórkową, dla potrzeb inżynierii tkankowej: procesy degradacji struktury i właściwości mechanicznych” Agreement: 0616/IP2/2011/71. Principal Investigator/Project Manager: Dr inż. Michał J. Woźniak. Funding: 154000 PLN.

Bio-Implant

Development and preparation of tissue engineering products which will support regeneration and restoration of large bone tissue loss http://bio-implant.pl.

PVA-Ti

In Vitro investigation of cartilage-like hydrogel materials and metallic porous structures for improvement of functionality of shoulder joint endoprostheses.

Coatings

Development of technology for coating the metallic implant with biocompatible polymeric layer playing a role of drug delivery system.

Porous Ti

Made by rapid prototyping method (in collaboration with Wroclaw University of Technology).

Mentor Eye

Opracowanie polskiego komplementarnego systemu molekularnej nawigacji chirurgicznej dla potrzeb leczenia nowotworów.

WIM-LKDIE

Zaawansowane techniki badań oddziaływań substancji czynnych z komórkami skóry w celu opracowania innowacyjnej receptury produktu kosmetycznego

NCN/Sonata

Zaawansowane techniki mikro i nano tomografii rentgenowskiej jako nowe narzędzie do badania i oceny produktów inżynierii tkankowej.

LasIMP

Innowacyjna technologia laserowego kształtowania przyrostowego LENS w zastosowaniu do modyfikacji geometrii i biofunkcjonalizacji warstwy powierzchniowej bezcementowych implantów stawu biodrowego