About the width of a human hair, the microthreads VitaThreads produces are made of collagen, fibrin, and other biologic materials. The microthreads can be braided into cable-like structures that mimic natural tissues like tendons, ligaments, and muscle fibers. First developed in Pins's lab as a potential tool for repairing torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) in the knee, the microthreads were adapted by Pins and Gaudette for use as biological sutures to deliver bone marrowderived stem cells to regenerate cardiac muscle damaged during a heart attack. Other WPI labs are using the threads, seeded with varying cell types, as scaffolds for wound healing and skeletal muscle regeneration, among other purposes.
"The VitaThreads case is a great example of how WPI strives to accelerate innovation and develop ideas into products that meet important needs," said Todd Keiller, director of technology transfer at WPI and a member of AUTM.
Pins and Gaudette are co-founders of the company and serve as scientific advisors to the VitaThreads management team, which includes co-founders Collette and CEO Harry Wotton '94. The company began operations within WPI's Bioengineering Institute and has since moved to its own space within the Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI) incubator facility at Gateway Park in Worcester. Its first clinical target is to develop a new treatment for Achilles tendon injuries.
"This is a special opportunity to put WPI and our technology on an international stage, in front of a group of people who can help bring these potential new therapies to the clinic," Pins said. "Just making the final four in this level of competition already feels li
|Contact: Michael Cohen|
Worcester Polytechnic Institute