Research: Cell Therapy for Wound Healing
Cell therapy is the practice of using cells as tiny factories to deliver a therapeutic agent of choice to a wound or tissue. Such therapies have been used to effect bone formation, wound healing, and to control glucose levels in diabetics. The largest hurdle to overcome is rejection of donor cells. By microencapsulating cells within polyethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogels, we have been able to immunoisolate these cells. In the figure above, mammalian cells have been encapsulated within PEG hydrogel microspheres between 100 - 300 micrometers in size (about the width of 1-3 human hairs).
The image on the left shows cells encapsulated into a hollow PEG microcapsule, which allows the cells to move freely within the membrane and cluster. The image on the right shows fluorescent staining of viable cells (live glows green, dead glows red) encapsulated into a solid PEG microsphere, which embeds the cells in place.
We are currently microencapsulating pancreatic beta cells to speed wound healing.