A process to make collagen scaffolds with an artificial circulatory system using rapid prototyping
Sachlos E., Reis N., Ainsley C., Brian DY., Czernuszka JT.
Tissue engineering aims to produce biological substitutes to restore or repair damaged human tissues or organs. The principle strategy behind tissue engineering involves seeding relevant cell(s) onto porous 3D biodegradable scaffolds. The scaffold acts as a temporary substrate where the cells can attach and then proliferate and differentiate. Collagen is the major protein constituent of the extracellular matrix in the human body and therefore an attractive scaffold material. Current collagen scaffolds are foams which limit the mass transport of oxygen and nutrients deep into the scaffold, and consequently cannot support the growth of thick-cross sections of tissue (greater than 500 pm). We have developed a novel process to make collagen and collagen-hydroxyapatite scaffolds containing an internal artificial circulatory system in the form of branching channels using a sacrificial mould, casting and critical point drying technique. The mould is made using a commercial rapid prototyping system, the Model-Maker 11, and is designed to possess a series of connected shafts. The mould is dissolved away and the solvent itself removed by critical point drying with liquid carbon dioxide. Processed hydroxyapatite has been characterised by XRD and FTIR analysis. Tissue engineering with collagen scaffolds possessing controlled internal microarchitecture may be the key to growing thick cross-sections of human tissue.