Novel Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering
Currently, an interdisciplinary research project is exploring new technologies with regard to biodegradable implants. The project is carried out by two research institutions at the Technische Universität Dresden, the Max Bergmann Center of Biomaterials (MBC) at the Institute of Materials Sciences and the Institute of Textile and Clothing Technology (ITB), as well as the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research in Dresden (IPF) and the University Hospitals in Ulm and Heidelberg.
The project’s aim is to create biologically resorbable scaffolds using flock technology. Flock technology for example is applied in an industrial scale to the production of the velvety surfaces of spectacle-cases. Now, this method shall help to produce new types of medical implants. In order to create resorbable scaffolds, membranes made of mineralised collagen are covered with a gelatine-based biocompatible glue. In the next step, biologically degradable fibres are flocked on the tapes. “This way a kind of ’velvet structure’ is created on which cells can be seeded with a high density”, explains Birgit Mrozik, scientific coworker at the ITB.
To make tissue engineered implants e.g. for cartilage defects, human chondrocytes are cultivated on the scaffolds in cell culture labs outside the body. Later on the whole cell matrix construct is implanted to fill the tissue defect. As the cartilage tissue regenerates, the flock implants then start to degrade.
At the beginning of the project, the research team examined which kind of fibres are possible to use. In medicine for example biologically resorbable fibres are applied to the stitching of internal injuries. Furthermore, the researchers analysed which kind of glue is suitable for the flocking process and for cultivating cells. In addition, possibilities to generate multilayered flock structures are currently being investigated.
Due to the material properties of the new flock scaffolds, the most promising area of application is seen in the field of cartilage, particularly of the spinal disc. Additionally, the new materials are tested for their biomechanical suitability in order to be applied within the spinal disc. The results gained from the interdisciplinary research project could also be helpful for further developments in regard to electrostatic flocking as well as to biotechnology (tissue engineering) and medical textiles.
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Materials management deals with the research, development, manufacturing and processing of raw and industrial materials. Key aspects here are biological and medical issues, which play an increasingly important role in this field.
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