Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and Oncostatin M (OSM) are multifunctional cytokines of the IL-6 family with numerous potential uses in biomedicine. They play a role in stemness, embryo implantation, neuroprotection, re-myelination, bone regeneration but are also implicated in serious pathologies such as irritable boewl disease and specific carcinoma types.

Therapeutic exploitation of cytokines such as LIF and OSM is greatly hampered by rapid clearance by proteases once in vivo. This problem will be readily overcome by combining the bioactive peptide sequence with a structural polymer such as SELPs (Silk-Elastin-Like Polymers) through recombinant DNA technology, with simplification of their production and making possible subsequent processing into different biomaterials.

This proposal aims to exploit SELPS consisting of repeating units of silk (GAGAGS) and elastin blocks (VPAVG), combining the mechanical properties of fibroin and the flexibility and solubility conferred by elastomeric sequences.

FCT, Portugal 2020


Total: 235,833.13 €

CBMA: 235,833.13 €

Aalborg University, Sweden

Centro de Física das Universidades do Minho e do Porto (CF-UM-UP)

Weill Cornell Medical College,The Rogosin Institute