Self-Assembling Proteins for Biomedical Applications

Technology #ua15-060

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Like Zeng
Graduate Assistant, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
Xiaoyi Wu
Associate Professor, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
Managed By
Robert Sleeper
Licensing Manager (520) 626-4604


By adding external biologically active proteins we can control the biological properties separately from medical properties and by controlling the protein concentrations (& other factors) we can separately control the mechanical properties and provide a tunable safe assembling protein scaffold in a broad range of mechanical properties.

The present invention provides a dual-component system comprising a synthetic protein and a biologically active molecule. When present in isolated form or in mixture with the biologically active molecule, the synthetic protein self-assembles into a microporous, nanofibrous scaffold with tunable mechanical properties that can match the mechanical properties of a wide variety of human connective tissues. The biologically active molecule provides the scaffold with biological functionalities that can bind to cell surface receptors and enable cell-matrix interactions. The present invention further describes methods for the production of the dual-component scaffolds and use of the scaffolds.


The engineered protein scaffolds are the tailored folds, which provide binding sites to specifically recognize desired target molecules. The antibodies with engineered protein scaffolds for specific antigens are being studied and researched. These protein scaffolds can be expressed in the microbial hosts. One approved engineered protein scaffold protein is Ecallantide (Kalbitor), a drug used to treat hereditary angioedema and in the prevention of blood loss in cardiothoracic surgery. Many engineered protein scaffolds such as Adnectins, Affibodies, Anticalins and Avimers are being researched. The global tissue engineering and regeneration market reached $17 billion in 2013. This market is expected to grow to nearly $20.8 billion in 2014 and $56.9 billion in 2019, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.3%.


  • The self-assembly of protein or peptide scaffolds may occur under physiological conditions that are compatible with cell encapsulation and culture
  • These materials may be prepared in liquid form and injected to a localized site in the body, transforming into tissue scaffolds in situ; these materials in liquid form may also be introduced together with living cells onto microfluidic chips, creating organs or tissues on a chip.
  • Self-assembling peptides and proteins as an injectable material eliminates the need for an invasive surgical procedure that is required for implanting a prefabricated scaffold into the body.
  • Whether used as a prefabricated or injectable implant, a peptide- or protein-based scaffold can be biodegraded and resorbed by the host, as the degradation products are largely amino acids that can be reutilized.
  • Post-implantation processability of these materials is desirable for applications wherein the scaffolds serve as an aid to wound healing or tissue regeneration rather than a permanent replacement.


  • The field of the present invention is manufacturing and use of self-assembling proteins.
  • Present invention is directed to the design of self-assembling proteins and a process through which the proteins acquire desired structures and desired properties that have therapeutic, diagnostic and research values.


Xiaoyi Wu


Robert Sleeper, J.D.

Licensing Manager, Tech Launch Arizona

O: 520-626-4604