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A Biological Scaffold That Can Better Heal Bone Injuries—Inspired by Lego Bricks

According to foreign media reports, we are hearing more and more materials similar to scaffolding used to help treat bone injuries. A new biological scaffold is said to be particularly versatile because it is inspired by Lego bricks. The so-called biological scaffolds are usually made of biocompatible polymers, which are 3D printed into a solid or injected into the solid in the form of a gel.
In either case, once it is in place at the bone injury site, adjacent bone cells will migrate into the scaffold and basically survive in its three-dimensional microstructure. These cells then multiply and gradually replace the polymer during the harmless biodegradation process. In the end, what is left is pure natural bones.
Under the leadership of Professor Assoc.Luiz Bertassoni, scientists from Oregon Health and Science University, New York University, and Matthew University in Thailand took different approaches. They created tiny hollow 3D printed polymer blocks that can be stacked together like Lego to build bio-scaffold implants of the desired shape and size.
Making implants in this way is much faster than 3D printing individual custom-sized pieces. In addition, unlike the case of gel-type bioscaffolds, different blocks can be filled with different types of growth factors. This means that, for example, an implant can add one type of growth factor to the surrounding block, and another type of growth factor to the internal block to more accurately reproduce the natural bone structure.
"3D printed miniature cages can be filled with ingredients exactly where you want them, and then stacked like Lego bricks," Bertassoni said. "Therefore, this creates a guiding scaffold where cells can be precisely guided to the location of interest. This is very important because a huge bottleneck in the field is, for example, before more tissue is formed, in regeneration Get blood vessels in the core of the tissue."
In fact, in laboratory tests conducted on rats with bone injuries, it was found that the implant made of this kind of mass stimulated blood vessel growth about three times that of traditional bio-scaffold materials. Researchers hope that once the technology is further developed, it can also be used to regenerate soft tissues in injured areas, and even make complete organs for transplantation.

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