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Biofunctional polymer materials - Previous and Current Research

Glycosaminoglycan-based cell-instructive hydrogels

Implementing a theory-driven design strategy, we have explored the incorporation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in biohybrid polymer hydrogels for the biomimetic modulation of growth factor signals, along with other cues of extracellular matrices (ECM). Applications of customized GAG-based materials include inflammation-modulating wound dressings, cell replacement-supporting cryogel microcarriers for neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic disorders as well as gel matrices to stimulate embedded hematopoietic stem cells ex vivo. The materials were furthermore successfully used to induce tubulogenesis of human vascular endothelial cells as well as of human renal and mammary epithelial cells, supported the formation of immunotherapeutic organoids and enabled the ex vivo analysis of tumor vascularization and acute myeloid leukemia in response to treatment.

Figure modified from Freudenberg et al., Advanced Materials 2016; © Advanced Materials 2016

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