Growth factors (GFs) are a powerful tool to positively affect tissue regeneration in wound healing by regulating a wide range of cellular functions, such as proliferation, migration and differentiation. Clinical application however remains a challenge since the local and temporal controlled supply and the need for a combination of GFs orchestrated in their sequential functionality cannot be guaranteed with existing delivery strategies.
The approach proposed here aims to overcome these limitations by producing and using microgel capsules containing GFs as delivery systems, which define the GFs’ release kinetics by their physical properties. The microgels should be below 50 µm diameter to achieve easy injectability and the desired GF distributions around specific cell (~10-30 µm) populations without exhibiting physical hindrance for cell growth.This project encompasses the design and development of unprecedented three-dimensional microfluidic devices using two-photon polymerization. Different nozzle architecture will be generated inside the microfluidic channels for the synthesis of micro-scale microgel capsules with controllable release kinetics depending on the shell properties. The tailored microgel capsules will be employed in an angiogenesis model for a proof of concept study to improve vascular formation and function through sequential delivery of early and late GFs.