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Maria Pia Hospital – GVM Care and Research (GVM)

Villa Maria Pia Hospital is part of the Villa Maria Group, a holding company that operates in healthcare, research, biomedical industry, wellness spa and business services: the goal is to promote the well-being and quality of life. Heart Group is the integrated network of High Specialty Hospitals, Polispecialistici and Day Surgery Clinic with private: a network of facilities and professional skills that innervates several Italian regions and extends into France and                                                                                                                                                                            Albania.

A long tradition, borrowed from a territory – Romagna – marked until a few decades ago by a network hospital, has led Villa Maria Group to establish itself as partner of the NHS and public as a center of excellence – in particular for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases – turning more and more of his attention to the dignity of the patient and reaching to devise diagnostic and surgical techniques less invasive, alongside treatment protocols tailored to the patient. Villa Maria Group invests heavily in technology to improve the quality of health care: the 1700 beds in total, 160 are intended for intensive care and resuscitation; these are flanked by 14 laboratories of hemodynamics, 5 linear accelerators for radiotherapy.

Considerable investment in diagnostics: in addition to the 10 MRI and 16 CT scans, Villa Maria Group is one of the few Italian cities that have the “Gamma knife”, the so-called gamma knife, sophisticated equipment used for the non- invasive treatment (ie without surgery) of brain disease, especially cancer. Recently also the acquisition of a Tac-Pet, device that “reads” the cancer cells allowing a more complete diagnosis in cancer patients.

Villa Maria Pia Hospital partner

1 BIOMAT Research group

Biopolymers as biomaterials for applications in regenerative medicine
PROPONENT Trieste University

Life Science Department

LOCATION Via Licio Giorgieri, 5 – 34127 TRIESTE


The research group led by Prof. Sergio Paoletti (BIOMAT group) is currently engaged in various activities for the design of new biomaterials engineered for applications primarily in the fields of orthopedics, dentistry and internal surgery. These materials are typically based on biopolymers, in particular alginate, chitosan and hyaluronic acid. The materials developed, C.D. third generation, besides being themselves bioactive on cells and tissues of the plant, are the result of a molecular design aimed particularly to the delivery of cells, including stem.

The development of these biomaterials characterization is done through a parallel aspects of their material and biological properties resulting in a process of continuous feedback to optimize the overall performance. The materials are thus assessed on the basis of their chemical-physical, morphological and mechanical properties; the biological effects of the biomaterial are first tested in vitro on eukaryotic cells (cytotoxicity assay, proliferation, differentiation, …) and of bacterial cells (efficacy antimicrobial, biofilm formation), and in in vivo models.

Within the European project “NEWBONE” (FP6), aimed at developing a bone implant polymer-based, the research group BIOMAT has focused its research on surface modifications of the system to provide it with both antibacterial activity and of osteoconductive properties: to that end, have been added to the polysaccharide matrix (respectively) nanoparticles of silver and / or nano-hydroxyapatite obtaining bioactive constructs able to interact with cells in the desired manner.

Systems based nanocomposite membranes polysaccharide for topical applications (eg burns, ulcers) with the objective of maintaining the hydrated tissue are also under development and at the same time exert antimicrobial activity.

Recently, the research group BIOMAT began the coordination of the European project “AnastomoSEAL” (FP7), with the aim of developing a bioactive membrane for the prevention of anastomotic leak, a serious complication that can


Relevant Pubblications

The role of Galectin-1 in the interaction between chondrocytes and a lactose-modified chitosan” P. Marcon, E. Marsich, A. Vetere, P. Mozetic, C. Campa, I. Donati, F. Vittur, A. Gamini, S. Paoletti. Biomaterials 26, 2005, 4975– 4984.

The aggregation of pig articular chondrocyte and synthesis of extracellular matrix by a lactose-modified chitosan”

I. Donati, S. Stredanska, G. Silvestrini, A. Vetere,, P. Marco, E. Marsich, P. Mozetic, A. Gamini, S. Paoletti, F. Vittur. Biomaterials 26, 2005, 987–998.

Alginate/lactose-modified chitosan hydrogels: A bioactive biomaterial for chondrocyte encapsulation.” E. Marsich,

M. Borgogna, I. Donati, P. Mozetic, B. L. Strand, S. Gomez Salvador, F. Vittur, S. Paoletti J Biomed Mater Res 84a,

2008, 364–376.

Alginate/Hydroxyapatite Biocomposite For Bone Ingrowth: A Trabecular Structure With High And Isotropic Connectivity” G. Turco, E. Marsich, F. Bellomo, S. Semeraro, I. Donati, F. Brun, M. Grandolfo, A. Accardo, and S. Paoletti. Biomacromolecules 10, 2009, 1575–1583.

Non-cytotoxic Silver Nanoparticle-Polysaccharide Nanocomposites with Antimicrobial Activity” Andrea Travan, Chiara Pelillo, Ivan Donati, Eleonora Marsich, Monica Benincasa, Tommaso Scarpa, Sabrina Semeraro, Gianluca Turco, Renato Gennaro, and Sergio Paoletti. Biomacromolecules 10, 2009, 1429–1435.

Surface Modification and Polysaccharide Deposition on BisGMA/TEGDMA Thermoset. Andrea Travan, Ivan  Donati, Eleonora Marsich, Francesca Bellomo, Satish Achanta, Mila Toppazzini, Sabrina Semeraro, Tommaso Scarpa, Vittorio Spreafico, and Sergio Paoletti. Biomacromolecules 11, 2010, 583–592.


Donati, I.; Marsich, E.; Paoletti, S.; “Polymer mixtures of anionic and cationic polysaccharides and use thereof”. Brevetto italiano No. PD2006A000202 con estensione PCT, Patent Application WO/2007/135116A1; US20090197832; EP2021408A1

Donati, I.; Marsich, E.; Paoletti, S.; “Hydrogels of polysaccharides mixtures for tissue engineering and as carriers of active compounds”. Brevetto italiano No. PD2006A000203 con estensione PCT, Patent Application WO/2007/135114A1; US20090202640; EP2021408A1; EP2029629B1

Donati, I.; Marsich, E., Travan, A.; Paoletti, S.; “Nanocomposite materials based on metallic nanoparticles stabilized with branched polysaccharides“. Deposito italiano No. PD2008A000219 con estensione PCT, Patent Application WO 2010/010122

Donati, I., Marsich, E., Travan, A.; Paoletti, S. “Three-dimensional nanocomposite materials consisting of a polysaccharidic matrix and metallic nanoparticles, preparation and use thereof”. Deposito italiano No. PD2008A000220 con estensione PCT, Patent Application WO 2010/010123

BIOMAT group activities

The group’s activity BIOMAT University of Trieste will be divided mainly on points 1, 3 and 7 of the project activities. In detail;

Activity 1). The group has been active for many years in the preparation of three-dimensional structures for culturing and expansion of primary cells and stem. Such structures are based on the use of biopolymers (polysaccharides) highly biocompatible, of low cost and that are already produced in compliance with GMP standards. The experience of the group ranges from complete characterization (physico-chemical and mechanical) of raw materials and three- dimensional structures, their terminal sterilization and their experimental use with different cell types and tissues. In the latter field have been developed and optimized procedures for the evaluation of cellular activities within the matrices biopolimeriche same. The enormous versatility of biopolymers used and the possibilities offered by their synergistic combination allows to obtain structures custom-made adaptable to the needs of the cells or tissues with which they come in contact. Depending on the mode of preparation, the matrices biopolimeriche can assume the function of three-dimensional structures stable to support the growth and cell differentiation post-or pre-installation or, thanks to the reversibility of the formation process, they may serve as bioreactors easily degradable a Once you reach the cellular maturation deemed appropriate. In this sense, the group BIOMAT University of Trieste has developed three-dimensional scaffold nanocomposites containing hydroxyapatite for bone tissue engineering that have already been tested on mesenchymal stem cells and in vivo. Furthermore, the group is currently capable of producing flexible structures, based on combinations of biopolymers of natural origin, for the proliferation and stimulation of colonocytes and fibroblasts.

The flexibility of biopolymers used also allows their chemical modification addressed to decorating them with specific signaling molecules to stimulate cell and tissue. In this sense, the group has the knowledge to introduce biopolimerica chain, peptide structures of Accession (eg RGD) or oligosaccharide.

Activity 3). The training group BIOMAT University of Trieste focuses on the deepening of the issues related to the use of biomaterials for tissue engineering activity covering the wet bench and in vitro. With regard to the first task, the offer focuses on providing the skills physico-chemical and engineering for extensive characterization of biomaterials and their sterilization. With regard to the provision of training for the in vitro characterization of biomaterials, the group provides the skills acquired in the head of the cell and tissue cultures of three-dimensional structures of support is in the form of hydrogels, including cell encapsulation, which rigid scaffold that of membranes with different porosity.

Activity 7). The group BIOMAT of Trieste is available for providing expertise in outsourcing, particularly to industrial partners in the furrows of proven experience.

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