PI: Phil Campbell
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Soy proteins, along with other plant-based proteins, have recently been explored as a "green" renewable source material for biomedical applications. As a non-animal source material, there is no disease transmission concerns as are associated with human and animal sourced materials. Soy protein isolate (SPI) represents for all practical concerns an inexhaustible source material with excellent storage stability across a broad range including 23-40C, thus requiring no special storage conditions. Soy proteins can mimic extracellular proteins promoting cell attachment and proliferation. Furthermore, in cutaneous wound healing, SPI based materials improve wound healing, and appear to be biodegradable, allowing for subsequent applications directly onto the prior applied materials. However, the inclusion of therapeutics, such as growth factors and extracellular vesicles (EVs), with soy protein-based biomaterials to further enhance healing has not been considered to date. And, the addition of such therapeutics may likely be required to overcome the compromised wound environment such in diabetic patients. Furthermore, biodegradation of soy proteins has thus far been based on orally delivered protein or upon physical observed changes in soy protein biomaterials in vivo over time.

In this project, we will evaluate of SPI-based materials for binding, retention, and bioactivity of growth factors and EVs in vitro, and evaluate cell-based trafficking and proteolytic degradation of SPI-based materials. The resulting data these studies will enhance the scientific basis and marketing profile of our industrial partner, NeuEsse, a Pennsylvania based startup, developing OmegaSkinTM for dermal wound applications. Furthermore, resulting data will form the nexus for future applications, including NIH SBIR/STTR and DOD, for further development including preclinical animal through to clinical studies.