The extracellular matrix consists of collagens, long stable protein chains that make up a large part of our body. The future of regenerative medicine depends on collagen as the most important material. The better and purer the implanted collagen, the better it is suitable for regeneration purposes. If you use collagen from biological sources, you always run the chance that extraction and processing will damage it or decrease its quality.
That’s why future regenerative medicine must focus on materials whose properties specifically promote regeneration. An example of this is "rhCollagen" by the Israeli company CollPlant. "Our proprietary technology is based on the introduction of the five human genes that are essential for the synthesis of Type I collagen into tobacco plants. It is the only commercially viable technology currently available to mass-produce true Type I human collagen," CEO Yehiel Tal explains in an interview with MEDICA-tradefair.com.
rhCollagen is identical to natural human collagen and can be genetically engineered by using plants. During the process, it remains intact and free of pathogens and allergens. Apart from wound care products that are already available on the market, CollPlant also aims to advance the development of its rhCollagen-based pipeline to be used in 3D bioprinting of tissues and organs, implants and dentistry.
However, there is still one caveat even if the raw material has been optimized. When the body heals itself, scars form or there is restricted function as today's materials do not promote the type of growth that equals the natural growth in the body. In fact, the body's own cells grow into the implants from the outside. This only creates structures of limited use such as nerve fibers or blood vessels because you cannot regulate the necessary growth inside the body.