Recently, our group has discovered that the polyisocyanide (PIC) gel is an ideal matrix for  cell growth. It is non-cytotoxic and forms a cell supporting gel upon warming at very low concentration. Multipotent cells and the medium can be mixed with the polymer solution and upon warming to 37˚C a 3D self-assembled network is formed around the cells. In non-functional gels the cells survive but cannot adhere to the material and cluster together. Cell adhesion was induced, to the PIC gel by bio-modification of the polymers with integrin binding peptide GRGDS (every 10 nm). A wide variety of cells, in a range of media could be grown in this 3D matrix (HUVEC, SMC (Smooth Muscle Cells), Fibroblast, hMSC(human mesenchymal stem cells)) and upon cooling the matrix simply disassembled and the grown cells could be readily collected.

This project is about understanding the relationship between cell growth and cell adhesion in a controllable matrix to be able to make a fully synthetic and tunable ECM to replace collagen, fibrin and matrigel as a 3D matrix for cell culturing.

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Group Rowan Group

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