Biomaterials have been widely explored for tissue engineering applications to restore, maintain, or improve tissue function. In particular, biodegradable materials are often used as an initial scaffolding to promote the ingrowth of cells from the surrounding microenvironment and their integration into the implant, with the eventual goal of the biomaterial being replaced by the regenerated host tissue. As such, the biomaterial implant design must include optimized material degradation kinetics to avoid premature device failure due to loss of mechanical stiffness caused by material bulk erosion.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have a topology optimization method to create devices composed of biodegradable materials that retain sufficient stiffness through the degradation process. The optimization method of the present invention creates a density distribution map for selected time points during degradation, which is then linearly superposed using both time and degraded base stiffness weighting factors. By using this approach, implants may be designed to retain adequate stiffness and strength until tissue regeneration is sufficient for the tissue to assume load-bearing function.
Applications and Advantages
- Tissue engineering using biodegradable materials,-nl-in particular for load-bearing applications, such-nl-as spinal fusion cage
- Enables use of biodegradable materials, some of-nl-which are well characterized and developed for-nl-load bearing tissue engineering applications
- May obviate difficulties associated with metallic-nl-mplants, such as stress shielding