ISurTec® is currently developing a synthetic photoreactive nanofiber scaffold optimized for osteoblasts and osteogenic precursor cells. This bone regeneration scaffold is biocompatible, biodegradable, mechanically strong, porous, and filled with photoreactive functional groups available for biomolecule immobilization.
With the advancements in the combination of biological sciences and materials engineering in the last two decades, the field of tissue engineering has evolved. Tissue engineering or specifically the generation of tissues/organs to replace those that have been damaged or lost by disease or injury has the potential to treat many conditions where current treatments are limited or non-existent (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, traumatic injury, bone loss, etc.). It is estimated that nearly half the cost of US health care can be attributed to the loss of tissue or failure of organs. There is considerable hope associated with this technology for improved treatments, enhanced quality of life and the ability to overcome the constant shortage of donor organs for transplantation. In general, an engineered tissue is a combination of living cells and a support structure called a scaffold. Critical factors are the nature of the scaffold itself and how it interacts with those cells. It is widely accepted that without the continued development of effective scaffold technologies, progress in tissue engineering will stop. Depending on the tissue or organ being produced, the scaffold can be anything from a matrix of collagen (a structural protein) to a synthetic biodegradable polymer compounded with agents that stimulate cell growth and multiplication. The cells initiating the process can come from laboratory cultures or from the patient’s own body. The role of the scaffold is to induce surrounding tissue and cell in-growth or to serve as a matrix for transplanted cells to attach, grow and differentiate. That role is temporary but crucial to the success of producing engineered tissues and organs. An ideal tissue engineering scaffold is biocompatible, biodegradable, porous, functionalizable, and mechanically strong.
The ISurTec® scaffolds are easily shaped into different forms (blocks, cylinders, sheets and granules) for optimal handling and use. Various biologically active substances, such as hydroxyapatite and extracelluar matrix proteins, may be bound to the fiber network. The attachment of biologically active molecules is customizable depending upon specific tissue requirements. In addition to scaffolds for bone tissue engineering, photofunctionalized nanofiber scaffolds should find wide use for other tissue engineering applications, as well as for bioseparation, biocatalysis, diagnostics, drug discovery, and drug delivery.
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