Hydrogel scaffolds and biosurfaces for directing healing and tissue reconstruction

POLY 368

Buddy D. Ratner, ratner@uweb.engr.washington.edu, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Box 351720, Seattle, WA 98195 and Andrew J. Marshall, amarshal@u.washington.edu, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Washington, Box 351750, Seattle, WA 98195.
Tissue engineering demands that synthetic polymer scaffolds be “instructive” to cells to direct cell attachment, proliferation, differentiation and angiogenesis. Novel strategies will be presented here aimed toward these goals. Specifically, a hydrogel scaffold formed by sphere-templating has been shown to be powerfully angiogenic and pro-healing, if the pore size and pore interconnects are of the appropriate dimensions. Such scaffolds have shown potential for use in heart, skin and subcutaneous tissue. The scaffold polymer, a biodegradable form of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate, is rich in hydroxyl groups that can be used for the post-fabrication immobilization of factors to further enhance cell processes. Covalent immobilization of collagen type I permits other collagen-binding proteins to be non-covalently immobilized. Proteins such as osteopontin can delivery their signals from a collagen type I surface in an enhanced manner. This multi-pronged approach can lead to scaffold that can direct tissue reconstruction and healing with precision.