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Bioactive Alimentary Protein-Based Scaffolds (APS) for Wound Healing and Regenerative Medicine

(P. Lelkes, E. Papazoglou, and M. Weingarten)

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Abstract: Non-healing skin wounds inflict nearly 5 million Americans each year, and translate into multi-billion dollar healthcare costs. Tissue engineering approaches using cell-based dermal, epidermal, or full-skin substitutes to treat acute burn wounds and chronic diabetic ulcers have shown clinical success; however, their limitations include long culture times, restricted availability and/or the risk of immune rejection of cell sources. The unique aspect of this project is the idea to utilize soy protein isolate, a common alimentary ”green-protein” for generating a high-tech biomedical platform technological tool that a) will circumvent current and emerging problems with animal-protein bases skin substitutes and b) meet the need to provide an affordable, bioactive scaffold for wound healing. Soy-based biomaterials have been found to be gradually degraded and integrated into the host’s dermis leading to deposition of new collagen, and formation of a vascularized extracellular matrix with concomitant epithelialization, all of which bodes well for the use of this material as skin substitutes for accelerated wound healing. Electrospinning enables a good degree of control over the fiber size and porosity of ensuing fibrous meshes, which in turn affects cellular infiltration into the scaffold. Our fibrous scaffolds have not shown any cytotoxicity or immunogenicity, as assessed by Alamar Blue assay using human dermal fibroblasts in vitro as well as in long-term biocompatibility/toxicity studies in vivo.