The Race for Bioactive Scaffolds

Y. Mao, S. Fung, J. Kohn
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey,
United States

Keywords: bioactive scaffolds, biomaterials


Starting about 60 years ago, biomaterials scientists recognized the importance of the integrin-mediated signalling that influences key cellular responses such as attachment, migration, and proliferation. Since then, thousands of research publications have provided an increasingly detailed understanding of the effects of specific substrate properties on cell behaviour. Particularly fascinating were early studies showing how chemical composition, topography and surface architecture of 2D substrates and 3D scaffolds can affect the cellular response. These insights started the race to develop bioactive scaffolds, defined as implants that can predictably induce the effective regeneration of damaged or missing tissues. An additional research direction was opened up when it was realized that stem cell differentiation is also profoundly affected by the properties of the substratum on which the cells are cultured. In recent years, hybrid scaffolds have been developed. These scaffolds combine synthetic materials to provide mechanical support and natural extracellular matrix (ECM) to provide biological guidance to cells. Bioactive scaffolds are an important, enabling technology that will profoundly change the market potential for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. While engineers are developing increasingly complex materials to create bioactive scaffolds, biologist are decellularizing natural tissues to achieve the same goal. Thus, we are witnessing a race among different approaches to create bioactive scaffold technologies that can be translated into clinical products. Acknowledgement: This work was supported by NIH Grant P41 EB001046 through RESBIO, a national resource for polymeric biomaterials and the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials at Rutgers University