The main characteristics of these materials are biocompatibility, biodegradability and that they are capable of being integrated into the body. The field of regenerative medicine is highly multidisciplinary as it encompasses, among others, medicine, biology, materials, engineering, and nanotechnology.
The Laika project, which is carried out by combining biological studies at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and the characterization of the material at the Leartiker technology center, is a study that aims to recover the functionality of the cartilage of people who suffer from osteoarthritis or injuries similar by regenerating cartilage tissue.
Within the Laika project, which began last year, a semi-interpenetrating (semi-IPN) and/or interpenetrating (IPN) hydrogel based on alginate and hyaluronic acid (HA) will be developed, which can be used as bio-ink in printing 3D of scaffolds for cartilage regeneration. It is essential that these materials are designed and formulated appropriately so that they resemble native tissue as much as possible and thus fulfill their function in the regeneration of cartilage tissue.
Likewise, a complete characterization of said materials will be carried out; analyzing the viscosity to study the behavior of the materials during bioprinting, studying the mechanical and viscoelastic properties to determine the rigidity and stability, and, finally, carrying out biological and degradation experiments to determine the biocompatibility of these materials and to be able to validate them as possible candidates to regenerate cartilage.
The Laika project is the basis of the doctoral thesis that our colleague Izar Gorroñogoitia is developing at Leartiker under the title “Development in vitro of an articular cartilage based on interpenetrating networks of alginate and hyaluronic acid”. This thesis completes the line of tissue engineering research that we have at Leartiker and in which we investigate biomaterials and cell regeneration processes in our Health specialty. Initiatives like these open new doors for us to continue generating knowledge and develop new medical devices that help in the well-being of people.
At Leartiker we are aware that there is still a lot of work to be done to be able to see the advances developed in clinics, because the path from knowledge to clinical application is long and complicated. But research gives us knowledge and high hopes, and that’s where we are.