Biodegradable materials for tissue engineering
Patel, Minal Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
Fisher, John P. Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.
- Cyclic acetal
- EH-PEG hydrogels
- Cell embedding within EH-PEG hydrogels
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Tissue engineering involves the use of biomaterials, transplanted cell populations, and molecular signals in the regeneration of diseased or damaged tissues. As a key component in the overall strategy, tissue engineering scaffolds are being extensively researched to repair damaged tissue and promote healing. Scaffolds are typically fabricated in the form of a biological matrix or material and have been used for a variety of biomedical applications, including defect repair, tissue healing, drug delivery, and cell transplantation. Scaffolds can be either nonbiodegradable or biodegradable, and both types have been studied for tissue engineering applications. Because biodegradable scaffolds may be absorbed within the body, they have attracted significant interest since further surgery is not required to remove the scaffold after the initial implantation surgery. The two broad classes of biodegradable scaffolds as defined by the source of the material are naturally derived and synthetically fabricated. Natural biomaterials, such as collagen, chitosan, hyaluronic acid, elastin, and gelatin, have been studied for liver, nerve, bone, and cardiac tissue engineering applications. However, it is difficult to control the physical and chemical properties of natural biomaterials, and this often limits the applications. As a result, many researchers have focused on synthetic biomaterials. The physical and chemical properties of synthetic biomaterials can easily be modified, and may be repetitively produced in similar batches. Commonly studied synthetic, hydrolytically degradable biomaterials are glycolic acid derivatives, lactic acid derivatives, and polyester derivatives. Upon degradation, these biomaterials degrade in the body and release acidic products. Unfortunately, the acidic degradation products have been known to increase inflammation in the surrounding tissue area. Because of this concern, investigators have attempted to create synthetically derived biomaterials with nonacidic degradation products. One group of recently developed synthetic, degradable biomaterials is based upon a cyclic acetal unit. Recent efforts have attempted to develop cyclic-acetal–based degradable biomaterials for tissue engineering and drug delivery applications.
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