Support materials for tissue engineering
Tissue engineering has established as a new, dynamically expanding scientific field with enormous perspectives for use in medical applications. Its aim is the functional regeneration of injured tissue. Therefore tissue substitutes consisting of functioning cells and biomaterials are prepared by culture of ideally autologous cells on suitable scaffolds in vitro and in vivo. The allocation of suitable scaffolds of defined chemical composition, surface character and texture enabling cell proliferation, cell differentiation and the formation of three-dimensional cell compounds is of essential importance.
Scaffolds made of bioresorbable polymers or resorbable inorganic materials are particularly suitable, since the prepared cell or tissue compounds can be grafted together with the artificial matrix and the scaffold is resorbed and metabolized by different pathways in the body.
For this purpose the biomaterials department develops bioresorbable polymer-based materials (e.g. polylactide, chitosan, hyaluronic acid) as well as ceramic and composite matrix materials based on calcium phosphates e.g. for the regeneration of bone and cartilage tissue). Besides we establish specific technologies (leaching, foaming and rapid prototyping) to prepare open-pored, three-dimensional structures achieving sufficient mechanical stability at porosity of 60 to 90 %.
The qualification of the developed materials as scaffolds for osteoblasts, fibroblasts and chondrocytes is validated by in vitro tests in our cell culture laboratory. In animal trials we could prove the exceeding biocompatibility of developed biopolymer-calcium phosphate-composites.
Dr. Jürgen Weisser