The increasing demand for tissues and organs for transplantation is opening new research avenues dealing with decellularization. To obtain decellularized tissues and organs, one must eliminate the cells and the genetic material while maintaining the complex ultrastructure of the ECM, to serve later as natural scaffold. The ECM is produced by native cells to offer mechanical support while providing signals needed for cell migration, attachment, differentiation, and functions. Numerous tissues and organs have been decellularized so far and used for both research and commercial purposes. The ECM shows great potential in various areas, which include tissue regeneration, culture of cells and organoids, therefore, permitting at the end to reproduce more native environments.
Regenerative Medicine in Support of Surgeons
Recent progress in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering have paved the way for the use of whole decellularized organs for transplantation. Numerous in vitro and in vivo studies have confirmed that scaffolds based on ECM derived from tissues and organs can be beneficial to cells, including stem cells, regarding attachment, proliferation, viability and functions. Moreover, such scaffolds show weak immunogenicity which facilitates their in vivo use. These numerous advantages militate in favor of developing ECM-derived bioproducts.
A Revolutionary Formulation of the Extracellular Matrix (ECM)
Our ECM, currently of research grade, is derived from different tissues and organs and is available for applications in the culture of cells and organoids.
ECM formulations obtained from bladder, liver, kidneys, lung, pancreas, and muscle, to support research activities. ECM derived from additional tissues and organs can also be produced on demand. Products are available either as a powder or in another form depending on specific need of the users.
A New Bioadhesive (Biological Glue)
Formulated from ECM extracted from an animal organ, our new bioadhesive has already shown its exceptional sealing capability during tests conducted on porcine lungs. The first identified market for our bioadhesive is lung surgery in humans i.e., aiming at sealing airleaks during and after lung surgery. This will permit to reduce the number and length of hospital stay and should improve patient recovery. SherMATRIX is currently characterizing the new bioadhesive and trials on two animal models are in progress. Our studies are being conducted in close collaboration with surgeons from the CIUSSS de l’Estrie and are funded for the most part by the MEI (Ministère de l’économie et de l’innovation) via a PSO grant managed by Axelys.
Other Products & Technologies Under Development
SherMATRIX is already considering other applications for the new bioadhesive (actual formulation or modified versions of it) and for the ECM itself. SherMATRIX has developed two different processes to produce the ECM and, as it can be expected, the two resulting ECMs show significant and interesting differences, which allows us to envisage a broader range of potential applications for these ECMs.
In addition to its strong interest in applying the new bioadhesive to lung surgery, SherMATRIX is considering markets such as liver grafting, treatment of chronic ulcers and cell therapies based on stem cells.
SherMATRIX sees the ECM as a complex platform molecule from which numerous medical products and solutions are possible to treat important medical conditions. As the properties of the ECM will normally vary according to the tissue or organ used, the range of possible products and solutions is therefore being broadened.
SherMATRIX is also commercializing a perfusion bioreactor for such complex cell culture conditions.