“haute couture” and “prêt-à-porter” approaches to compartmentalize cells in soft biomaterials for tissue engineering
The encapsulation of therapeutic molecules and cells in hydrogels and capsules have been widely used to develop controlled drug delivery devices, hybrid systems for tissue engineering, immuno-isolation of cells or living reactors for biotechnological applications. Sophisticated strategies have been explored in our research group to encapsulate cells in spherical liquefied hierarchical matrices, protected by a multi-layered shell, able to produce autonomously human-like micro-tissues in vitro. Despite the potential of the proposed technology, in particular in the regenerative medicine field, we expect to face a variety of regulatory and marketing constraints before these products could reach the clinics. In parallel we are developing systems using materials more prone to get a faster approval to be used in patients or for ex vivo scenarios. An example will be shown on the preparation of novel hydrogels obtained from platelet-rich plasma. We will show we are able to control their mechanical properties and that these human-derived substrate offers an adequate environment for encapsulating different types of cells. We propose these systems for regenerative medicine applications and also as matrices to engineer pathological tissues, to be used as models of diseases.