There is a significant unmet clinical need for robust treatment options that address both segmental (missing sections of bone) skeletal defects and contained (holes in bone) skeletal defects. The common methods to develop a tissue engineering scaffold that will be used to treat contained skeletal defects via a minimally invasive surgical procedure (percutaneous injection) include particulate leaching, gas foaming, and phase separation. There is currently no scaffold platform that provides an injectable implant that results in (1) a homogeneous, interconnected pore system within the contained defect; (2) appropriate mechanical reinforcement of the defect; (3) biocompatibility; and (4) bone formation in the pore system followed by degradation of the scaffold.
In collaboration with CECT, this project seeks to develop such a scaffold via selection of a material that will exhibit lower critical solution temperature (LCST) behavior between body temperature (37 ºC) and room temperature (~23 ºC), and undergo spinodal decomposition after injection as it rises from its initial temperature towards body temperature. The system will be optimized for porosity generation, desired mechanical properties, biocompatibility. The ultimate goal of these scaffolds will be to serve as biomaterial implants capable of GMP production.