Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics Research Group

Comunications - Poster

Enzymatically-crosslinked Silk Fibroin Hydrogels as Platforms for Irreversible Electroporation Tumour Ablation


In recent years, advancements in tissue engineering strategies allowed to significantly improve the development of in vitro tumour models (1). These models are used to unveil novel therapeutic strategies for anti-cancer formation and development (2). Recently, a novel technique called irreversible electroporation (IRE) was developed (3). This method is based on the use of short-term, high-intensity electrical stimuli to induce cell membrane’s permanent disruption, thus leading to cell death (4). For this reason, this procedure shows promising applications as cancer therapy treatment (5,6). The aim of the proposed research activity is to test the conductivity of newly formed horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-crosslinked silk fibroin (SF) hydrogels, which spontaneously acquire SF conformational transition from random-coil to β-sheet during time (7,8). The conductivity of the enzymatically-crosslinked SF hydrogels is tested at different time points by means of using an electrochemical impedance analyser. The SF conformational change instead is monitored through circular dichroism and Thioflavin-T (ThT) spectrophotometrical analysis. The preliminary obtained results show that SF hydrogels’ conductivity progressively decreases during time, phenomenon concomitant with the SF conformational change from random coil to β-sheet. Overall, these findings put the basis for the further development and use of these hydrogels as IRE tumor ablation platforms.


Acknowledgments: This work has been funded under the COST action BIONECA (CA16122 - Biomaterials and advanced physical techniques for regenerative cardiology and neurology) and supported by the European Cooperation in Science & Technology (COST).



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3) Davalos, R. V. et al. Ann. Biomed. Eng. 33, 223–231 (2005).

4) Arena, C. B. et al. Biophys. J. 103, 2033–2042 (2012).

5) Garcia, P. A. et al. Technol. Cancer Res. Treat. 10, 73–83 (2011).

6) Neal, R. E. et al. J. Clin. Oncol. 29, e372–e377 (2011).

7) Yan, L. et al. Patent PT 107426. (2014).

8) Yan, L.-P. et al. Sci. Rep. 6, 31037 (2016).

FoReCaST 2nd Workshop
Hydrogels, Silk Fibroin
Open Access
Peer Reviewed
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