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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Self-healing boronic hydrogels for osteoarthritis

Nantes Excellence Trajectory
The SHELBY project was selected as part of the scientific priority Health of the Future - Innovative Biotherapies of the NeXT (Nantes Excellence Trajectory) initiative's call for interdisciplinary research projects. Its objective is to offer innovative therapeutics for osteoarthritis using a new generation of micromoulded hydrogel implants.

The SHELBY project brings together 3 laboratories of the NEXT consortium and 2 associated laboratories to combine their expertise in the life sciences, chemical sciences and engineering sciences in order to offer innovative therapeutics against osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common disabling joint disease.  It is associated with inflammation, joint tissue damage and disabling pain. Current treatments are at best pain relievers but do not prevent joint degeneration. To solve this clinical problem and provide relevant new therapeutic options, intra-articular injections of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from bone marrow (BM-MSC) or adipose tissue (AT-MSC) are a promising approach to inhibiting inflammation.

However, although tolerated during injection, "naked" CSM cells have limitations that affect their long-term efficacy: massive cell death during injection and cell leakage outside the joint space.

In this context, the SHELBY project aims to i) develop a new generation of functionalized boronic acid-based hydrogels with self-healing properties, ii) implement micromolding technology to generate injectable carriers, iii) validate the encapsulation of human CSMs in micromolded hydrogels and iv) evaluate the efficacy of encapsulated CSMs to prevent disease progression after intra-articular injection in a surgical-induced murine arthrosis model.
The SHELBY project aims to encapsulate CSMs in cytoprotective hydrogels to provide CSMs with a favourable microenvironment capable of supporting their viability and biological activities.



The BIA Unit is responsible for the design of boronic acid-based micromouldings using a soft lithography technique recently developed by the Nanostructured Assemblies (NANO) team.

  • Duration of the project: 1 year,  with possible extension to 4 years, from September 2018.
  • Academic partners:
    • Inserm U1229- Regenerative Medicine and Skeleton, RMeS 
    • CEISAM CNRS 6230
    • INRA BIA UR1268
  • Associated academic partners:
    • UMR CNRS 6283, Institut des Molécules et Matériaux du Mans (IMMM)
    • Inserm U1183, Institut de Médecine Régénératrice et Biothérapies (IRMB)
  • Budget: 455 000 € incl.  an amount of subventions of 140 000 €