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Biodegradable polymer scaffolds for tissue engineering

Research Achievements

Biodegradable polymer scaffolds for tissue engineering

Our IGERT investigators in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering worked with an orthopedic surgeon to develop biodegradable polymer scaffolds for use in tissue engineering. Specifically, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) was used to make various types of microspheres that were processed into porous scaffolds that possessed a wide range of properties. A heat sintering step was used to fuse microspheres together around porogen particles that were subsequently leached out, allowing for a 10-fold increase in mechanical properties over other PLGA scaffolds. Degradation times were observed to be between 30 and 120 days, with an initial compressive modulus ranging from 10 to 100 MPa, and after 5 days of degradation up to 10 MPa was retained. These scaffolds were designed to allow for cell ingrowth, enable drug loading, and an adjustable compressive modulus applicable for soft or hard tissue implants. This study was published in J. Biomedical Materials Research.