The team of Vilnius University researchers report on the preclinical study of 3D artificial micro structured scaffolds out of hybrid organic-inorganic (HOI) material SZ2080 fabricated using the DLW (direct laser writing lithography) technique. The created 2.1 × 2.1 × 0.21 mm3 membrane constructs are tested both in vitro by growing isolated allogeneic rabbit chondrocytes (Cho) and in vivo by implanting them into rabbit organisms for one, three and six months. An ex vivo histological examination shows that certain pore geometry and the pre-growing of Cho prior to implantation significantly improves the performance of the created 3D scaffolds. The achieved biocompatibility is comparable to the commercially available collagen membranes. The successful outcome of this study supports the idea that hexagonal-pore-shaped HOI micro structured scaffolds in combination with Cho seeding may be successfully implemented for cartilage tissue engineering.
Further on human cells (including stem cells) biocompatibility with the scaffold has to be evaluated, to see if there are no adverse effects, and quantify the positive efficacy. Currently this research is being performed anticipating positive results in the nearest future.
Over the last decade DLW employing ultrafast pulsed lasers has become a well-established technique for the creation of custom-made free-form three-dimensional (3D) micro scaffolds out of a variety of materials ranging from proteins to biocompatible glasses. Its potential applications for manufacturing a patient's specific scaffold seem unlimited in terms of spatial resolution and geometry complexity. However, despite few exceptions in which live cells or primitive organisms were encapsulated into a polymer matrix, no demonstration of an in vivo study case of scaffolds generated with the use of such a method was performed.