ERC Proof of Concept Grants STRAINSTIFF and VASCUGRAFT
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the major causes of death in the EU and appropriate treatment remains challenging and expensive. Often, the only treatment option is the replacement of a native blood vessel. Although patient-derived vascular grafts to replace the original vessel remain a gold standard treatment strategy, alternatives have to be found, as donor material is limited. Currently available synthetic grafts have drawbacks which include the potential for mismatch between the mechanical properties of the synthetic graft and its native counterpart. Any incompatibility could lead to complications like intima hyperplasia. In our ERC Starting Grant CELLINSPIRED we have developed a material structure that allows us to mimic the strain-stiffening of blood vessels. Within the proposed project VASCUGRAFT we will fabricate vascular grafts with the aim of finding a company that will license our invention and bring it to the market.