Collagen for tendon repair
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Collagen is the most widely distributed class of proteins in the human body and the use of collagen-based biomaterials in the field of tissue engineering is extensive. However collagen hydrogels typically have low mechanical strength, and accordingly may not be suitable for use in tendon and other tissue repair grafts without further processing. Whilst there are methods available to increase the strength of collagen, they are not suitable for fabrication of certain tissues as the shape of tissue needs to be “crafted” which leads to structural weakness, layer separation and heterogeneous cell distribution.
The Technology and its Advantages
Researchers at UCL have developed an automated system for producing collagen with improved mechanical properties suitable for tissue engineering purposes, in particular for use in tendon, blood vessel and bladder tissue repair. This new method is reproducible, allows easier manipulate of the collagen constructs and has more advantageous and biomimetic characteristics compared to other available methods. This method may be used for complex collagen tissue engineering where mechanical strength of the collagen scaffold and cell alignment is a crucial factor.
Within the healthcare industry, use of collagen based products have been increasing in wound healing and tissue engineering applications and the global collagen market is predicted to reach USD 6.63 billion by 2025.
An increasing elderly population as well as increasing incidences of sports injuries are key factors driving the artificial tendons and ligaments market. It is estimated that 3-5 million people experience tendon related injuries each year. The artificial ligaments and tendons market was valued at US$17.310 million in 2017 and is expected to grow at a fast pace owing to the rising adoption of advanced technologies in the healthcare sector.
Intellectual Property Status
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