Author(s): Seliktar D
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Abstract The field of tissue engineering has created a need for biomaterials that are capable of providing biofunctional and structural support for living cells outside of the body. Most of the commonly used biomaterials in tissue engineering are designed based on their physicochemical properties, thus achieving precise control over mechanical strength, compliance, porosity, and degradation kinetics. Biofunctional signals are added to the scaffold by tethering, immobilizing, or supplementing biofunctional macromolecules, such as growth factors, directly to the scaffold material. The challenge in tissue engineering remains to find the correct balance between the biofunctional and the physical properties of the scaffold material for each application. Moreover, the ability to modulate communication between cells and the extracellular environment using the engineered scaffold as the actuator can provide a significant advantage in tissue engineering. In this study, a unique scaffold material is presented. The material interchangeably combines biofunctional and structural molecules by fusing the two into a single backbone macromolecule. This integration provides the basis for practical, effective, and high-resolution control of both the biofunctional and the physical properties of the scaffold material. This new scaffold material has proven effective with smooth muscle, cardiac, cartilage, and human embryonic stem cell cultures. The advantages of this approach as well as the potential applications of this unique scaffold material are discussed.
This article was published in Ann N Y Acad Sci
and referenced in Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials