Populations of stem cells that act as precursors for a variety of tissues are now isolatable and expandable in vitro. This capability, along with other advances in cell biology, have together given rise to the new field of tissue engineering. The field’s success in growing two-dimensional cultures of specialized cells has now led to the pivotal challenge of three-dimensional culturing. Novel materials with an array of specific properties are needed as scaffolds to meet this challenge. In combination, such materials must be biocompatible, controllably biodegradable, and highly porous to permit cell ingrowth and perfusion. In addition, the material must exhibit structural integrity and resiliency while maintaining formability and compliance.
University of Michigan investigator has developed certain compositions of materials that inexpensively meet these demanding specifications. As a result of extensive experimentation, the inventor has worked out methods for controlling the porosity, compliance and resiliency of this entirely chemically defined material and has demonstrated its biocompatibility.
Applications and Advantages
- Tissue engineering
- Controlled release
- Inexpensive methods