User:Slokwong/Module 4: Biomaterial Engineering

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Research Proposal

Project Overview

  • A study by MIT and HKU researchers showed that some biodegradable liquids can stop bleeding in seconds. Peptides self-assemble in to a gel to seal the wound and stop the bleeding. Once the wound is healed, the cells use the gel to repair tissue. Using this concept, we propose to find a material that can target tumors and then contain them so that they can't grow or metastasize. After the tumor is contained, a variety of drugs or therapies can be applied to it to eliminate it.

Intro: reference article from MIT news


  • Tumor cells vs. normal cells
    • Pysical changes in tumor cells
      • distribution and activity of microfilaments and microtubules
        • change ways of cell interaction with nearby cells
        • alter cell appearance, adhesion (reduction), movement (increased)
      • shape and organization of nucleus
        • chance in appearance useful in diagnosis/staging of tumors
      • secretion of enzymes enabling invasion of nearby tissue
        • enzymes digest barriers

Problem and Goals

  • Find effective way of containing/treating tumors. Find gel that specifically binds to tumor which can improve drug delivery techniques.

Project details and methods

  • Finding the difference between tumor and normal cells (discovering the peptide in which the gel can bind to)
  • Creating the peptide binding gel
    • insertion
    • binding specific site
    • take from inorganic concept...
  • Application (how to assist drug delivery)

Predicted Outcomes

  • Pitfalls
    • can't find a peptide to bind
    • binds to more things than just the tumor



Ellis-Behnke, R. G.; Y. Liang; D. Tay; P. Kau; G. Schneider; S. Zhang; W. Wu; K. So. 2006. Nano hemostat solution: immediate hemostasis at the nanoscale. Nanomedicine 2: 207-215.

  • They used a self-assembling solution (NHS-1) that was prepared using a RADA16-I synthetic dry powder obtained from MIT Zhang lab. The study describes experiments testing for how the solution works. They also compared the efficiency of the NHS-1 solution with saline and cautery treated controls. They found that in all cases the NHS-1 worked better.

[2] Ellis-Behnke, R. G.; Y. Liang; S. You; D. Tay; S. Zhang; K. So G. Schneider. 2006. Nano neuro knitting: Peptide nanofiber scaffold for brain repair and axon regeneration with functional return of vision. PNAS 103: 5054-5059.

  • Describes how the self-assembling peptide nanofiber scaffold was created and how it works.

[3] Davis, M.; J.P. Motion; D. Narmoneva; T. Takahashi; D. Hakuno; R. Kamm; S. Zhang; R. Lee. 2005. Injectable Self-Assembling Peptide Nanofibers Create Intramyocardial Microenvironments for Endothelial Cells. Circulation 111: 442-450.

  • They demonstrated that self-assembling peptides can be injected and that the resulting nanofiber microenvironments can be detected.

[4] Nagai, Y.; L. Unsworth; S. Koutsopoulos; S. Zhang. 2006. Slow release of molecules in self-assembling peptide nanofiber scaffold. Journal of Controlled Release 115: 18-25.

  • Describes the structure of self-assmebling peptide nanofibers.


  • Describes self-assembling peptide nanofiber scaffolds and what they are used for.


Kisiday,J.; M. Jindagger; B. KurzDagger; H. HungDagger; C. Semino; S. Zhang, and A. J. Grodzinsky. Self-assembling peptide hydrogel fosters chondrocyte extracellular matrix production and cell division: Implications for cartilage tissue repair.

  • They devised a self-assembling peptide hydrogel scafford for cartilage repair as well as a method to encapsulate chondrocytes within a peptide hydrogel.