BMM subsidy for Jonkheijm and collaborators Superdices: Supramolecular Substrates for Dynamic Cell Studies
Many patients suffer from heart and vascular diseases. A frequent and life threatening problem is heart infarct following stenosis of the coronary artery, which normally supplies oxygen to the heart muscle. Coronary artery stenting is currently the most frequently performed percutaneous coronary intervention to treat and prevent acute problems. Widening of blood vessels is done with a balloon catheter and at the same a stent is nowadays implanted. Such a stent is a small stainless mesh tube that holds the artery open thereby expanding an area of arterial blockage. However, renarrowing, or restenosis, occurs after placing stent. To prevent this complication, various types of improved stent materials have been developed over the years, however (late) thrombosis still remains a problem as a consequence of the growth of neointimal scar tissue.
The proposed work aims at the development of new instructive biomaterials employing self-organising, smart supramolecular materials. These supramolecular biomaterials have the advantage of being modular and adaptive to their environment and stimulation of cells can be easily encoded into them. This enables supramolecular biomaterials to for example recruit a specific cell type and to attach and spread these cells to the surface in a monolayer, in other words to endothelialize the stent surface. Making use of bionanotechnology chemical information will be encoded by reversibly/stimuli-responsively immobilizing semi-synthetic proteins, growth factors or peptides at specific locations on the surface of the biomaterials through supramolecular interactions such as host-guest chemistry. In this manner it will be possible to create complex patterns of signalling molecules that will direct the adhesion and migration of relevant, endothelial, cells on stent materials.