Hydrogels for Protein and Cell Delivery in Regenerative Medicine

Protein and cell therapies represent promising strategies for various regenerative medicine applications. However, uncontrolled therapeutic protein delivery and poor survival and engraftment of transplanted cells due to the lack of suitable delivery vehicles severely limits the therapeutic potential and translation of these strategies. Dr. García has established a new class of poly(ethylene glycol)-based hydrogels based on maleimide cross-linking chemistry superior to other synthetic hydrogels in terms of structure, cross-linking, biofunctionalization efficiency, and degradation profile. These hydrogels provide controlled, on-demand delivery of proteins and support transplanted cell survival, engraftment and function in therapeutic vascularization, bone repair, and the treatment of myocardial infarcts and arrhythmias. The García lab has also engineered synthetic hydrogels that support the development of human intestinal organoids and enhance organoid engraftment and colonic wound repair. Using microfluidics-based polymerization, the García lab has synthesized hydrogel microparticles (microgels) with controlled size and chemistry for protein and cell delivery applications.

  1. Phelps EA, Landázuri N, Thulé PM, Taylor WR, García AJ. Bioartificial matrices for therapeutic vascularization. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2010; 107: 3323-8. PMC2840448.
  2. Phelps EA, Enemchukwu NO, Fiore VF, Sy JC, Murthy N, Sulchek TA, Barker TH, García AJ. Maleimide cross-linked bioactive PEG hydrogel exhibits improved reaction kinetics and cross-linking for cell encapsulation and in situ delivery. Adv Mater 2012; 24: 64-70. PMC3517145.
  3. Headen DM, Aubry G, Lu H, García AJ. Microfluidic-based generation of size-controlled, biofunctionalized synthetic polymer microgels for cell encapsulation. Adv Mater 2014; 26:3003-8. PMC4058833.
  4. Cruz-Acuña R, Quirós M, Farkas AE, Dedhia PH, Huang S, Siuda D, García-Hernández V, Miller AJ, Spence JR, Nusrat A, García AJ. Synthetic hydrogels for human intestinal organoid generation and colonic wound repair. Nat Cell Biol 2017; 19:1326-1335. PMC5664213.