Based on our Collagen Cell Carrier®, a thin collagen membrane has been developed for implantology as a biocompatible, suturable carrier for therapeutic cells (advanced therapy medicinal product, ATMP) or to provide a natural scaffold for the cellular recolonization of severely damaged tissues. Our goal is to develop novel therapies together with academic and clinical partners.
We have already established collaborations with academic institutions such as the University Eye Clinic in Aachen, the Urology Department and the Institute of Anatomy in Tübingen Germany, or the University of Navarra – CIMA, Pamplona, Spain, to test the in-vivo characteristics of our thin collagen membrane in selected medical indications. In small animal models, the scaffold was implanted into various sites such as heart (patch), eye (cornea and retina), colon, skin graft donor sites, open wounds and into the peritoneum. Biocompatibility was excellent in all cases with very mild, transient inflammation signs visible only in histological sections.
After establishment of the therapeutic cell layer on the thin collagen membrane in the laboratory, the complex can be removed and transferred easily to the impaired organ. Due to its elasticity it adheres to the organs’s shape and can be sutured directly to it, thus holding the therapeutic cells in place. The suture sites remain intact during the lifespan of the thin collagen membrane. Depending on the implantation site the scaffold is degraded within a few weeks. Degradation kinetics can be adjusted by using thicker or thinner membranes or by introducing cross-links by appropriate chemicals. Our thin collagen membranes are thus ideally suited for the development of soft tissue cell-based implants but can also be used alone e.g. as coverage in wound healing studies.
Together with our partners, we are currently establishing a pipeline of projects in cardiology, urology, dermatology and dentistry based on our collagen I based membranes.
Novel Cell Therapy for Cardiac Insufficiency
Ischemic cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of death in the developed world with no adequate treatment to date, representing 33 % of deaths of patients above 35 years. Viscofan BioEngineering offers a unique opportunity to establish a new therapy for cardiac insufficiency that could decrease adverse ventricular remodeling, the main cause of cardiac failure in ischemic patients.
This project is based on a collaboration between Viscofan BioEngineering and the University Clinic of Navarra. Together, we developed a new regenerative therapy based on the combination of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC) seeded on Viscofan BioEngineering‘s thin collagen membrane to promote the regeneration of damaged myocardial tissue. The cells are attached to the natural biodegradable collagen membrane and form a robust cell-matrix association that is then sutured directly to the site of tissue damage.
In-vivo experiments have shown that the membrane revealed only very minor immunoreactions by the host tissue and demonstrated significant enhancement of cell retention at the implantation site and consistent amelioration of tissue function (Araña et al., Biomaterials 2014). The Spanish ministry of Economy has granted a budget of €1.26 million for the so-called “Cardiomesh” joint project. The funds will primarily be used for a Phase I clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of VB-C01, a novel cell therapy to treat patients with cardiac insufficiency.
Contact us for more information on the use of our collagen products in regenerative medicine!