Gene activated matrices for bone and cartilage regeneration in arthritis

Christian Plank, David Eglin, Niamh Fahy, Cedric Sapet, Pascal Borget, Gerjo Van Osch, Chiara Gentili, Thomas Miramond, Katharina Zöller, Martina Anton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The GAMBA Consortium is developing a novel gene-activated matrix platform for bone and cartilage repair with a focus on osteoarthritis-related tissue damage. The scientific and technological objectives of this project are complemented with an innovative program of public outreach, actively linking patients and society to the evolvement of this project. The GAMBA platform will implement a concept of spatiotemporal control of regenerative bioactivity on command and demand. A gene activated matrix is a biomaterial with embedded gene vectors that will genetically modify cells embedded in or colonising the matrix. The platform comprises modules that self-adapt to the biological environment and that can be independently addressed with endogenous biological and exogenous physical or pharmacological stimuli, resulting in a temporally and spatially coordinated growth factor gene expression pattern. This reproduces, within the matrix, key elements of natural tissue formation. The modules are a biomimetic hyaluronan gel, a ceramic matrix, growth factor-encoding gene vector nanoparticles, magnetic nanoparticles and mesenchymal stem cells. Anatomical adaptivity is achieved with engineered thermal properties of the polymer matrix, which embeds other modules, selected according to functional requirements. Mechanical support is provided by Micro Macroporous Biphasic Calcium Phosphate (MBCP ™ ), a resorbable material approved for clinical use. Spatiotemporal control of bioactivity and responsiveness to physiological conditions is represented, firstly, in the spatial distribution and release profiles of gene vectors within the composite matrix and, secondly, by letting local and external biological or physical stimuli activate the promoters driving the expression of vector-encoded growth factor transgenes. This concept is implemented by a multidisciplinary team from leading European institutions. Here, we report on the concepts, objectives and some preliminary results of the GAMBA project which is funded in 7th Framework Programme of the European Union THEME [NMP-2009-2.3-1], Biomimetic gels and polymers for tissue repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-32
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Nanomedicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Citizen participation in science
  • Gene activated matrices
  • Gene vectors
  • Hyaluronan hydrogel
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Micro macroporous biphasic calcium phosphate
  • Spatiotemporal control


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