In recent years, the applicant group has described hydrogel-type supports based on vinyl-lactams (vinylpyrrolidone, VP and vinylcaprolactam, VCL) for cell culture and cell detachment, with a high scientific-technical impact. The systems based on VCL are thermosensitive, allow for the cellular detachment by simple drop in temperature and has led to the creation -in early 2018 and jointly with the investment fund BeAble Capital- of the technology-based company (EBT) Releasycell SL, which has licensed a patent centred on VCL. The development of these supports has been focused to date on obtaining robust and effective systems, and has laid the foundations for future developments. 

The VCL-based thermos-responsive hydrogels can be considered as an alternative to thermos-responsive poly-N-isopropylacrylamide (pNIPAm) surfaces, which are the gold standard in the field of cell detachment and cell sheet engineering. VCL-based hydrogels exhibit however some differences compared to pNIPAm based surfaces. From these differences, this project is intended to make a qualitative leap in the preparation of the VCL-based thermos-responsive supports, designing and validating procedures to manufacture hydrogels with advanced features, capable of responding in a personalized way to specific needs. Thus, and as indicated in scheme 1, from the preparative point of view it is intended to provide the hydrogels with properties such as (a) controlled release of factors and active compounds, (b) degradability, (c) surface microstructure, (d) non planar surfaces. These chemical-physical parameters will allow adding capabilities to the platform of hydrogels as the possibility of intervening in the processes of adhesion, proliferation and differentiation, or create cell monolayers on non-flat supports, among others. It is the spirit of the project to offer a platform that allows for combining these procedures. Thus, some selected examples have been chosen as proofs of concept: supports for bone cell differentiation, and for tubular endothelial monolayers 


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