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Boston start-up uses ancient medical material to regenerate tissue


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 4th, 2018

A Boston-based start-up is transforming an ancient medical material to regenerate tissue in aesthetic and medical surgeries.

Based on research from Tufts University and the University of Pittsburgh, Sofregen is focusing on liquified silk protein, which has been used in medical applications for about 2,000 years and was first mass-produced in 1887 by Johnson & Johnson. The material offers biocompatibility and engineering controllability without the use of harmful chemicals.

“It’s already used in sutures and mesh,” says Anh Hoang, chief medical officer at Sofregen. “We can control how much protein content there is. We can control the mechanics of it.”

The start-up is developing a silk scaffold that can be injected to bulk up tissue and help it regenerate. Sofregen will first apply the technology to vocal folds so they can come together to produce the sounds used for speech. Over the course of 20 to 24 months, the silk scaffold would be replaced by the patient’s own tissue. Silk is an ideal material for this application because it does not set off allergic reactions, unlike some types of collagen. 

Sofregen has raised $6.2 million in series A funding and is now attempting to raise another $3.5 million to further develop its platform to reconstruct soft tissue as small as a wrinkle or as large as most of a  patient’s face. The U.S. Department of Defense has also explored the innovation’s potential for treating wounded soldiers with facial injuries and other soft-tissue injuries.

Source: MD+DI

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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