Scaffold for Tissue Engineering


Bioscaffold Benefits

What are the benefits and expected developments of bioscaffolds?

   The use of bioscaffolds optimizes recovery.  This is accomplished by the initial seeding of the scaffolds with differentiable cells.  Because cells are already present at the implantation site, recovery can begin immediately with the replication of the cells.  The binding factors which can also be integrated into the scaffold can improve cell migration and adhesion to the site, further improving recovery time.  The ability to strictly control the composition of the scaffold allows the minimization of adverse reactions such as inflammation and premature enzymatic deconstruction.  Due to the biodegradability of the material, a removal procedure is not required, which improves patient comfort and decreases operation costs dramatically.  

                 One novel development of bioscaffolds is the use of silk and silk-derived proteins for tissue regeneration.  Natural silk from silkworms has many important biological properties which can be modified to fit specific medical uses.  These modifications can be made by various processing techniques and by adding materials such as enzymes and semiconductors.  One novel use in the field of tissue regeneration is artery replacement.  Silk displays exceptional tensile strength and biocompatability.  With some minor alterations, silk can be tailored into the conformation of an artery and be given highly accurate degradation properties.  The shaped fibers form a scaffold which would serve as both a housing and a guide for stem cell regeneration.  The final product would be a natural artery replacement which would not require the use of an artery from another part of the body, but rather the regeneration of the artery using native cells and a silk bioscaffold.

                 Cartilage is a particularly difficult tissue to repair due to its lack of blood supply and other various factors.  Some treatments involve replacing the cartilage with material that can barely sustain itself in the area’s conditions while other treatments involve the complete removal of the cartilage.  Recently, a significant procedure has been developed due to the discovery of bioscaffolds.  Scientists have developed a bioscaffold which can be implanted into the cartilage area and promote cartilage growth.  The scaffold accomplishes this due to its composition of various cartilage growth proteins.  Once implanted, cartilage is regenerated at an alarming rate, usually fully grown within one month.  This technology is expected to be implemented by the next decade. 

                 Another development expected to be implemented in the next decade is the technology of skin healing using bioscaffold technology.  Unlike using a preexisting scaffold to implant cells, a scaffold is synthesized at the area of need.  In the case of a burn where a large surface has been damaged, the scaffold consists primarily of a mixture of proteins and cell effectors which interact with the cells to form a temporary system of repair.  A skin printer is currently under investigation for burn treatment which would utilize this concept.  The printer uses two separate cartridges which house a mixture of fibrinogen, collagen, skin cells, and thrombin, which are essential for skin repair.  These components are sprayed into the area of damage where they are mixed to form a layer of fibroblasts and keratinocytes suspended in a liquid nutrient bioscaffold.  As the mixture reacts and sets, the skin is healed over time.  Healing generally culminates in less than a month and results in a great reduction of scarring and infection.  Development and implementation of this technology is greatly beneficial to the military where injuries require immediate onsite treatment to ensure full recovery.  Furthermore, implementation of this technology at local burn centers would greatly expedite treatment and reduce patient costs.





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