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Ear and Nose Reconstruction using Nanocomposite Polymer

Michelle Griffin

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Medical Research Council (MRC)
Ear and Nose defects caused by cancer, congenital deformities and trauma give rise to huge psychological distress and physical morbidity. Current surgical restoration of such defects involves harvesting patient's own tissue, which causes large donor site morbidity, postoperative pain and is restricted by tissue availability. The high levels of extrusion and infection limit alternative synthetic materials. Our nanocomposite polymer POSS-PCU has already replaced patient's organs as the World's First Synthetic Trachea, lacrimal duct and lower limb by-pass graft. This project aims to develop a nasal organ composed of POSS-PCU to overcome complications with current techniques available for nose reconstruction. Objectives To design POSS-PCU ear and nasal organs that promote 1) tissue integration and 2) angiogenesis to overcome infection and extrusion. Methodology: 1. Define the optimal porosity of the polymer for tissue ingrowth and angiogenesis based on the mechanical properties of the human cartilage by implantation in a rat model. 2. Delineate the effect of plasma techniques to modify the surface chemistry of POSS-PCU to enhance fibroblast cell adhesion, survival and proliferation using immunofluorescence, RT-PCR and western blotting. 3. Based on preliminary data examine the role of adipose derived stem cells (ADSCs) for angiogenesis. After co-culture with ADSCs, endothelial cell survival and tube formation will be examined using confocal and scanning electron microscopy. 4. Determine vessel and tissue ingrowth of POSS-PCU after plasma and ADSCs treatment via in vivo implantation. Scientific and Medical Opportunities a. Understand how to optimise porosity and surface chemistry of nanomaterials for organ regeneration. b. Improved understanding of the use of ADSCs to create vascularised tissue engineered organs. c. Production of a stem cell nanocomposite nasal organ, which provides better clinical outcomes for patients requiring nose reconstruction.

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