Mar 29 2018 Posted: 00:00 IST

Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis, Investigator at CÚRAM the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices and Director of the Regenerative, Modular and Developmental Engineering Laboratory (REMODEL) at NUI Galway, has published an innovative new laboratory method to analyse materials used in implants in the prestigious Nature Protocols Journal.

Nature Protocols is an online journal publishing high-quality, citable, peer-reviewed protocols from the leading laboratories in all fields of biological and biomedical science. The journal includes both classical methods and cutting-edge techniques relevant to the study of biological problems.

Dr Zeugolis and his research team have developed a ‘toolbox’ for the characterization of mammalian collagen (type I) in biological specimens. In vertebrates, collagen is the major component of connective tissues, for example making up 75% of human skin, 80% of the organic matter in human bone, 90% of human tendon and 90% of human cornea. It is primarily responsible for the mechanical integrity and specific function of these tissues.

This abundance of collagen in human tissues has triggered scientific research into its use as a raw material for implant fabrication. Collagen type I is the most abundant protein found in the cell environment, and collagen type I tissue grafts, biomaterials are used extensively in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

“Many studies however, for convenience or economic reasons, do not accurately determine collagen type I purity, concentration or solubility which can frequently result in incorrect conclusions in the lab” explains Dr Zeugolis. “We have developed this protocol to provide a comprehensive, yet fast and readily implemented toolbox, for collagen type I characterization in any biological specimen.”

Despite the substantial strides in extraction, purification and characterization of collagen, issues such as batch-to-batch variability, reproducibility and accurate characterization, in both tissue context and cell culture environment, remain a problem. These inconsistencies can result in erroneous experimental conclusions, which may lead to unnecessary preclinical testing and failure in clinical setting trials. Thus, there is a pressing need for standardization of procedures for the extraction of collagen so as to standardize quality and therefore increase reproducibility of experimental results. 

The Nature Protocols publication can be accessed at https://www.nature.com/articles/nprot.2017.117. CÚRAM Investigator Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis is Director of the Regenerative, Modular and Developmental Engineering Laboratory (REMODEL) at NUI Galway.

ENDS

ABOUT CÚRAM
CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices is part of the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre network. It aims to radically improve the quality of life for patients living with chronic illnesses, by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. CÚRAM’s academic partners include the National University of Ireland Galway, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, University College Cork, University Limerick and Clinical Research Development Ireland. Clinical targets include cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, musculoskeletal and respiratory illnesses as well as soft tissue and wound healing. CÚRAM brings together clinical, industry and research teams with expertise in biomaterials, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, glycoscience and device design. Read more at www.curamdevices.ie or follow on Twitter @curamdevices.

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