Engineering Tissue Repair
Treating traumatic injuries and degenerative disorders of the body’s soft tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, membranes and muscles, is challenging; it means integrating innovative medical and engineering approaches. As a “tissue engineer,” Dr. John Frampton’s goal is to restore function to damaged or diseased tissues by building replacement tissues that can be implanted in—and seamlessly integrated with—a patient’s own tissue.
As Canada Research Chair in Cellular, Biomaterial and Matrix Interaction, Frampton is pioneering a variety of approaches that will bring this goal closer to reality. His laboratory combines precision liquid handling—also known as microfluidic technology— with cell-friendly, polymer-based materials to reconstruct tissues from their basic building blocks.
Frampton and his research team also plan to investigate whether lab-grown tissues can integrate with the nerves and blood vessels of host tissue. Frampton hopes their findings will allow the team to design cell-based materials that can be implanted to maximize their ability to make functional connections.
Frampton’s research will lead to a better understanding of what determines the outcomes of implanted biomaterials. It will also support the development of technologies that might one day be used to help damaged or diseased tissues treated with cell-based therapies recover better.
As well, the technologies developed by Frampton’s team can be used to develop model tissues in the laboratory for a deeper understanding of disease processes and treatments.