Current treatments for damaged cartilage in patient joints from trauma or arthritis provide only limited repair. Microfracture is a surgical procedure that enables bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells to migrate to the defect area of the cartilage, promoting repair. However, over time the cartilage synthesized at the defect region becomes fibrous and prone to failure, which results in lack of function of the regenerated cartilage tissue. The goal of this project is to investigate if the 3D printed polymer scaffolds developed at TR&D1 boost the therapeutic effect of microfractures by guiding cell and growth factor adhesion.
Biodegradable polymer scaffolds of varying composition will be 3D printed, and their mechanical and architectural characteristics evaluated. These scaffolds will further be bio-functionalized for optimal cell response in vivo. The treatment efficiency of multiple groups of scaffold configurations will be tested via in vivo models to determine optimal regenerative and healing properties of the 3D printed bioactive scaffold to treat joint issues related to cartilage damage.