Growth Factor Engineering Strategies for Regenerative Medicine Applications

Xiaochen Ren, Moyuan Zhao, Blake Lash, Mikaël M. Martino, Ziad Julier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

151 Citations (Scopus)


Growth factors are critical molecules for tissue repair and regeneration. Therefore, recombinant growth factors have raised a lot of hope for regenerative medicine applications. While using growth factors to promote tissue healing has widely shown promising results in pre-clinical settings, their success in the clinic is not a forgone conclusion. Indeed, translation of growth factors is often limited by their short half-life, rapid diffusion from the delivery site, and low cost-effectiveness. Trying to circumvent those limitations by the use of supraphysiological doses has led to serious side-effects in many cases and therefore innovative technologies are required to improve growth factor-based regenerative strategies. In this review, we present protein engineering approaches seeking to improve growth factor delivery and efficacy while reducing doses and side effects. We focus on engineering strategies seeking to improve affinity of growth factors for biomaterials or the endogenous extracellular matrix. Then, we discuss some examples of increasing growth factor stability and bioactivity, and propose new lines of research that the field of growth factor engineering for regenerative medicine may adopt in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number469
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • biomaterials
  • extracellular matrix
  • growth factors
  • protein engineering
  • regenerative medicine

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