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FiberGel Scaffold for Cartilage Repair

Project Team

  • Li-Hsin Han, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
  • John T. Lawrence, MD, PhD, Orthopedic surgeon The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Thomas Schaer, PhD, Director at Penn Vet New Bolton Center


Successful repair of knee cartilage relies on an ideal integration of surgical technique and supportive scaffolds promoting cartilage formation. Existing commercial scaffolds are often associated with poor implant integration, sub-optimal cellular environment, and open surgery, which can lead to long recovery time, graft failure, reoperation and high costs. FiberGel is a phase-transformable scaffold made of inter- crosslinkable, protein-based microfibers, which are paste-like, mixable with cells, and able to solidify into a porous scaffold with optimal, tissue-specific porosity. FiberGel is injectable and supports minimally invasive procedures, while the paste-like fibers can fill a random defect with arbitrary geometry before forming a scaffold, facilitating the integration of implant to host cartilage. These features can potentially save patients and insurance providers tens of thousand USD per operation. Funded by Coulter grant, our results demonstrated the advantage of FiberGel using in vitro and explant models, and we are scheduled test the efficacy of FiberGel using horse models. In this proposed project, we aim to increase the value of animal model by increasing both the time span and the number of horses. We expect to produce compelling data to attract licensees, such Globus Medical, Inc., our collaborator company, to bring FiberGel into the market.