BoostLab4-1: PleuraPlug - Surface functionalized biobased and injectable patches for tissue regeneration in traumatic pleural injuries


Project duration

January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024

Project partners

DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials, AG Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg, AG Prof. Andrij Pich

Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, Institute of Applied Medical Technology

Pfeifer & Langen GmbH & Co.KG

Project description

The PleuraPlug technology is to be used for the treatment of pleural fistulas. Pleural fistulas are pathological connections between the lung and the pleura, which can result from tumors, trauma, microbial infections or postoperatively, for example, after tumor resections. PleuraPlug technology offers a cross-disciplinary solution based on composite microgels consisting of the biobased building blocks pectin from sugar beet and silk protein from the silk moth Bombyx mori. The microgels are loaded with growth factors and decorated with Affibodies specific for cell surface receptors. Thus, fibroblasts are actively recruited to migrate into the hydrogel network.

After cell immobilization as well as stimulation of cell profiling, they form the final and airtight closure of the fistula. For the realization of the endoscopic injection, two batches of the composite microgels are prepared, which are equipped with complementary interaction partners. Separate application of the complementary microgel batches with a two-channel catheter results in cross-linking of the microgel batches in the area of the pleural fistula and formation of a stable network as a scaffold structure for cell growth.

After the development of the technology in the first year, the PleuraPlug technology will be evaluated and optimized in in vitro experiments in the second year. Already in the second project year, the establishment of an animal model will be started in order to validate the technology by in vivo experiments which will be performed in the third project year.

Open positions

currently none