by Sandra Van Vlierberghe, Professor (BOF-ZAP), Ghent University
Biofabrication is a specific area within the field of tissue engineering which takes advantage of rapid manufacturing (RM) techniques to generate 3D structures which mimic the natural extracellular matrix (ECM). A popular material in this respect is gelatin, as it is a cost-effective collagen derivative, which is the major constituent of the natural ECM. The material is characterized by an upper critical solution temperature making the material soluble at physiological conditions. To tackle this problem, the present work focusses on different gelatin functionalization strategies which enable covalent stabilization of 3D gelatin structures [1, 2].
In a second part, synthetic acrylate-endcapped, urethane-based precursors will be discussed with exceptional solid state crosslinking behaviour compared to conventional hydrogels .
Several polymer processing techniques will be covered including conventional 3D printing using the Bioscaffolder 3.1, two-photon polymerization (see Fig.) and electrospinning starting from crosslinkable hydrogels. A number of biomedical applications will be tackled including adipose tissue engineering , vascularization , ocular applications , etc. The results show that chemistry is a valuable tool to tailor the properties of hydrogels towards processing while preserving the material biocompatibility.
What drives you?
The final clinical application of our biomaterials.
Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
To get insight in material needs to ensure optimal 3D-printing and biological performance.
What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Laser-based 3D-printing of hydrogels as well as in the presence of living cells.
What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
More tissue engineered constructs find their entry in the clinic.
What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Ever wondered why plastics can save a person’s life?
References :  J. Van Hoorick et al., Macromolecular Rapid Communications (2018) 39 : 1800181, doi: 10.1002/marc.201800181.  J. Van Hoorick et al., Biomacromolecules (2017) 18 : 3260-3272, doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.7b00905.  A. Houben et al., WO 2017/005613.  L. Tytgat et al., Acta Biomaterialia (2019) accepted.  T. Qazi et al., ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering (2019) accepted.  J. Van Hoorick et al., Advanced Healthcare Materials (2019) submitted.