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Gradient Scaffolds

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Towards Kidney bioprinting

Certainly bioprinting of a full kidney remains a dream. It will be probably like that for many decades, unless a strong and well funded collaborative effort will be originated in the near future. However, current kidney bioprinting attempts are helping creating more know-how over kidney biology through the biofabrication of 3D in vitro models that can be used to study new treatments for kidney chronic conditions.

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World TERMIS 2021

After Seoul, Vienna, and Boston, Maastricht was selected to host the next world conference of the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine society. We expect to attract more than 2'000 delegates by 2021 in Maastricht, which is at the center of a European region fervidly active in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, stem cells, biomaterials, in silico modeling, and biofabrication.

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Biofabrication for the eardrum

Tympanic membrane (or eardrum) is provided by nature with unique anatomic features that ultimately allow a superb physiologic performance in varying frequency ranges. Several pathologies damage this tissue, including chronic otitis media (COM), which ultimately bring to deafness.

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Biofabrication with dynamic materials

3D printing makes it possible to create complex personalized products such as prostheses and implants directly from a 3D scan. To make this type of application possible, it is important that available materials have the correct mechanical and biochemical properties. In the TA program DYNAM, which is funded from the Innovation Fund for Chemistry, researchers and companies will tackle this challenge

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New Project on 3D printing

Damaged and diseased bones in the region of head, face and jaws are common, and are conventionally treated using metallic or polymeric implants, which poorly bond to the surrounding bone. As a result, failure of such implants is common.

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Gradient Scaffolds
Published on: May 1, 2016
Category: Events

Structural as well as physico-chemical gradients can be considered as an additional element in designing scaffolds for stem cell-based regenerative medicine applications. In a few recently published papers, the Moroni Lab has shown how gradients in pore size and shape could aid in the differentiation of bone marrow derived adult mesenchymal stem (or stromal) cells towards skeletal lineages. When MSCs are cultured in scaffolds with pores varying in size, they can be better differentiated towards osteoblasts or chondrocytes in presence of either chondrogenic or osteogenic media. Specifically with increasing pore size, better osteogenic differentiation occurs. Vice versa, with decreasing pore size, better chondrogeneiss is observed. Similarly, when pore shape is varied from squared to increasingly rhomboidal shapes, MSCs shift their differentiation preference from the chondrogenic to the osteogenic lineage, respectively. Such influence on stem cell differentiation seems to be connected to different local nutrient availability, as shown by a differential expression of hypoxic inducible factors.

Following a similar, but different approach, 3D scaffolds with discrete gradients in surface energy or stiffness were also created and evaluated for the same purpose. Such gradients were created by changing the deposition order of commonly used biodegradable biomaterials in the field of regenerative medicine, such as poly(lactic acid), poly(carpolactone) and polyactive. Whereas stiffness gradients didn't contribute to a net increase in MSCs differentiation, surface energy gradients did. The net effect of such gradients should be decoupled by the intrinsic variation in polymer chemistry, which also occurred during additive manufacturing of these 3 different polymers in different sequences. Nonetheless, physico-chemical gradients created by multi-material additive manufacturing could be an appealing strategy to follow in designing and fabricating scaffolds for skeletal regeneration.

These studies show new avenues in the ever growing biofabrication field, where additive manufacturing of hierarchical scaffolds promises to be a new exciting bioprinting strategy.