Week 4 – Smaller is Better…For Cells
Hope all is going well. First order of business of this week’s blog is to welcome our newest intern, Sharon Chiang, to the company. Sharon has ventured all the way across the country to work with us. It is always humbling when we receive applications and emails from people across the country and, for that matter, all around the world from people that would like the opportunity to join us in our mission. As I mentioned when we first started the blog, opening a company was not on my bucket list so having people joining our team was sort of a distant thought. I can only imagine what some entrepreneurs must feel when they’ve gone from one person to ten people to hundreds or even thousands of people. Life is also about timing and persistence. Sharon had reached out to us in the recent past but the timing did not work out. However, she was persistent and kept in touch with us since she has a passion for electrospinning. We appreciated her drive and enjoy seeing her put her college training into practice. It’s been exciting to watch her learn about our technology. There is nothing better than watching someone who hasn’t been part of the company learn about all of the things we do. At one point Sharon asked me how me how many different companies we worked with and after giving her the list, she appeared to be truly amazed. This is a nice reminder to us that something that we do every day is innovative and can make a difference. Plus, it also reminds me of how much we accomplish on a daily basis.
We hope you enjoyed the first edition of #FactualFriday last week on our social media platforms (here is the LinkedIn release - https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6897890944885030912/). We thought it would be a good way to bring different facts about our technology or us to you while you are waiting with breathless anticipation for the next blog release (Okay. I’m overdoing it a little bit, but we do hope you are always looking forward to it as much as I enjoy writing it). A big shout-out to Cam for coming up with the idea, putting his marketing skills to good use. If you are not following BioSurfaces on social media, it is quick and easy to do. Visit www.biosurfaces.us and go to the bottom of any page. You will see icons there for all of our social media sites. Click on one or all of the icons and select to follow us. It is our way to get information out to you quickly.
The first edition (for those of you who may not have seen it – shame on you (: ) showed the thickness of our Bio-Spun™ scaffolds as compared to a human hair. I still remember our team taking that image several years ago at the University of Rhode Island. We are constantly making electrospun materials so we tend to take for granted how thin these fibers are. I thought it would be good to have a visual of how small “small” really is. Based on my limited hair content, we used a hair sample from one of our team members who could afford to donate one to really drive home the fact that our materials are 35 – 70 times thinner than a strand of hair. Yet, when these electrospun fibers are formed into a material, they have good strength, possess excellent healing and can be used to delivery drugs, active agents and cells within the body. I never cease to be amazed by what our Bio-Spun™ materials can do and the problems that they can solve.
How the body’s cells interact with these materials is really interesting. Standard textile fibers that make up current medical devices (or even make up your clothing) are many times thicker that our Bio-Spun™ materials. We believe based on our extensive data as well as data from investigators that smaller fiber diameter (15 – 30 times thinner) plays a critical role on how cells behave in the body. The image for this week’s blog comes from human eye cells that have migrated into a Bio-Spun™ scaffold. The cells, stained in blue, are really interacting with the environment, growing and expanding into the scaffold and onto the opposite side. A lot of us thought this would be a really neat t-shirt decal! We have seen this same type of cell/scaffold interaction with different cell types both at the benchtop and in preclinical studies. This is the reason why we feel that using a flat 2D surface really does not replicate the intricate matrix that cells are normally exposed to. Our Bio-Spun™ scaffolds are more similar to the body’s natural scaffold, providing a “trellis” for cells to grow and thrive.
This isn’t the only area where our Bio-Spun™ materials are beneficial. We are using these small fibers to deliver a target drug that prevents blood clotting for one of our medical device partners. For our cosmetic partner, we are using these fibers to deliver skin actives and their target product. Other partners are using these scaffolds to grow tissue at the benchtop to evaluate difference diseases or for drug screening. There are so many other uses for our Bio-Spun™ technology that we’ll get into in future blogs and webcasts, but this gives you a flavor for what our technology can do.
Make sure to check out our next #FactualFriday on February 25th. We’ll see you back here on March 4th.