Testing silk fibroin fiber treatments for ACL reconstruction - Research Paper

By Veeraj Shah

Diagram of an ACL Tear

If you played a sport or watched one, especially football, then you probably heard of players injuring their ACL, or Anterior Cruciate Ligament. Many players and elderly people suffer from a tear or complete cut of their ligament resulting in excruciating physical pain and agony. Currently, ACL surgery results in using grafts, transferring a living tissue, or replacing the damaged ligament. However, these treatments have several harmful drawbacks, some with short-term effects as well as long-term. This invasive surgery comes with extended therapy time, knee pains, and a decreased range of motion. Furthermore, there is a greater risk of the donor tissue not being compatible with the receiver resulting in the surrounding cells failing to attach onto the newly introduced tissue. Recently, ligament tissue engineering has emerged in providing a safe, time-efficient, and biocompatible ligament to potentially overcome the drawbacks of the graft procedure for ACL reconstruction. In order to create an artificial ligament, cells need support and guidance to form ligaments outside of the body. Therefore, using biocompatible and degradable silk fibroin fiber (a protein) provides a platform for these cells (known as Normal Human Dermal Fibroblasts or NHDF) to grow and form a ligament tissue. To increase the effectiveness of the cells’ growth, the fibers were coated with different polymers to enhance the adhesion. Overall this study revealed in a great change in the NHDF morphology and cultivation on the PLL coated fibroin fibers.

If you would like to read more, click here for a full pdf of Veeraj's formal research paper about his project!

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