Project Title: Natural inorganic polymers and smart functionalized micro-units applied in customized rapid prototyping of bioactive scaffolds
Acronym: BIO-SCAFFOLDS (NMP3-SL-2013-604036)
Funding Entity: European Comission, FP7-NMP-2013-EU-China
Participating Entities: Universidad de Extremadura, Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (Coordinator), Brno University of Technology, Ortoma AB, NanotecMARIN GmbH, Tsinghua University, Peking University, Shenzhen Lando Biomaterials Co., Ltd.
Duration: 01/06/2013 – 31/05/2016
Budget: 1 799 002 € (UEX: 352 822 €)
UEX Principal Investigator (PI): Pedro Miranda
Number of researchers: 4 (UEX)
The aim of the project was to provide novel solutions for bottle-neck problems currently faced in establishing the corresponding processing chain, which encounter, among others, the extraction of essential geometry data of the damaged tissue from medical images, e.g. CT and MRI, with a resolution sufficient enough to guide CAD/CAM-based materials manufacturing processes; the establishment of a feasible interfaces between medical imaging, CAD and CAM; and the fabrication, by rapid prototyping techniques, i.e. selective laser sintering, 3D printing and robocasting, of customized scaffolds based on an innovative morphogenetically active bio-inorganic polymer, bio-silica, either alone or in combination with another bio-inorganic polymer, bio-polyP, as well as smart micro-units. Customization of both external geometry and internal cellular architecture, and of the material properties of the scaffolds was achieved. The main focus was the development of novel osteogenic scaffolds which obviate the need of exogenously added growth factors/cytokines in bone tissue engineering. The scaffolds made of the bioactive bio-inorganic polymers or their composites with traditional bio-ceramics will fulfil both mechanical and physiological requirements for the intended biomedical applications. In addition, this project provided a new strategy for 3D printing of bone-forming cells by exploiting the unique advantages of cell-encapsulating bio-silica alginate hydrogels.