Engineering 3D printed and knitted degradable scaffolds

Project leaders

Assoc. Prof. Anna Finne-Wistrand (Principle investigator)

Assoc. Prof. Daniela Pappalardo (Co- Principle investigator)

Researchers

Dr. Tiziana Fuoco (Post-doc)

Dr. Mohammed Yassin (Post-Doc)

Astrid Ahlinder (PhD-student)

Tove Kivijärvi (PhD-student)

Shubham Jain (PhD-student)

Additional participants

Professor Christian Gasser (KTH)

Professor Mikael Hedenqvist (KTH)

Assoc. Prof. Per-Olof Syrén (KTH)

Professor Kamal Mustafa (University in Bergen)

EnvisionTEC

CRITT-MDTS

Project information

Engineering 3D printed and knitted degradable scaffolds (PrintKnit) is financed by Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research.

PrintKnit’s overall purpose is the development of degradable, three- dimensional scaffolds for soft tissue regeneration - combine pliability with mechanical rigidity with the aid of for example 3D printing.

Figure 1. 3D printed architecture scaled into in three different sizes.

The architecture of the scaffolds is designed using hierarchical scales from micro- to millimeter level, to possess pliable, highly porous structures with the ability to control bioactivity, mechanical properties and degradation rate over time. The final aim is achieved by joining different expertise ranging from the design of synthetic polymers, their processing into 3-D structures and subsequent cell interaction, interlinked at all levels.

The central criterion of this project is the choice of the material from which the scaffold, with a defined architecture, should be fabricated. In the core of this project lies the material properties of the polymeric scaffold and the interaction with cells and surrounding tissue. Aliphatic polyesters and polycarbonates are of interest in manufacturing of medical devices due to their biocompatibility and degradability. Using these synthetic polymers allow for tailorability of the chemical structure and composition, leading to high control of the degradation rates and properties of the material. Untreated aliphatic polyesters have limitations in terms of cell-material interactions. The interaction on the cellular level is in this project designed through synthesis and functionalization of suitable degradable polymers. In conjuction to the development of the scaffold the biological interactions are evaluated through in vitro and in vivo studies.

To reach the aim to optimize the design, we also focus on material mechanics simulation. The design process will for example integrate a biomechanical assessment of scaffolds using Representative Volume Element (RVE) simulations of the individual 3D designs.

Once the mechanical and chemical characterization of the scaffolds will be done, in vitro cell studies will be carried out. Furthermore, in vivo animal model studies will be implemented to check the success of the implantable scaffolds.

Figure 3. Project schematic.

Financial Support

This work was financially supported by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (RMA15-0010)

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