USE OF 3D PRINTED POLY(PROPYLENE FUMARATE) SCAFFOLDS FOR THE DELIVERY OF DYNAMICALLY CULTURED HUMAN MESENCHYMAL STEM CELLS AS A MODEL METHOD TO TREAT BONE DEFECTS
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This project investigates the use of a tissue engineering approach of an absorbable polymer, poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) to provide long term mechanical stability while delivering a bioactive material, precultured human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) encapsulated in hydrogel, to repair bone defects. Annually over 2.2 million bone grafting procedures are performed worldwide; however, current treatment options are limited for critically sized and load bearing bone defects. Much progress has been made in development of bone tissue replacements within the field of bone tissue engineering. The combination of a polymer scaffold seeded with cells for the eventual replacement by host tissue has shown significant promise. One such polymer is PPF, a synthetic linear polyester. PPF has been shown to be biocompatible, biodegradable and provide sufficient mechanical strength for bone tissue engineering applications. Additionally PPF is able to be photocrosslinked and therefore can be fabricated into specific geometries using advanced three-dimensional (3-D) rapid prototyping. Current technology to culture and differentiate hMSCs into osteoblasts has been enhanced with the development of the tubular perfusion system (TPS). The TPS bioreactor has been shown to enhance osteoblastic differentiation in hMSCs when encapsulated in alginate beads. Although this system is effective in differentiating hMSCs it lacks the sufficient mechanical strength for the treatment of bone defects. Therefore this work suggests a combination strategy of harnessing the ability of the TPS bioreactor to enhance osteoblastic differentiation with the mechanical properties of poly(propylene fumarate) to develop a porous PPF sleeve scaffold for the treatment of bone defects. This is accomplished through four steps. The first step investigates the cytotoxicity of the polymer PPF. Concurrently the second step focuses on designing, fabricating and characterizing PPF scaffolds. The third step investigates the degradation properties of 3D printed porous PPF scaffolds. The fourth step characterizes alginate bead size and composition for use within the PPF sleeve scaffolds. The successful completion of these aims will develop a functional biodegradable bone tissue engineering strategy that utilizes PPF fabricated scaffolds for use with the TPS bioreactor.