WP01 – Materials and scaffolds

Objectives

The objective of WP01 is to develop and characterize printable and biofunctionalizable hydrogels that degrade between 3-6 months and use them to generate 3D hydrogel scaffolds and constructs with the printers delivered by WP2. Advanced printers that allow the aseptic printing of cell-containing gels and the double printing of hydrogels and thermoplasts will be available at month 24. The materials, scaffolds and constructs will be transferred to WP3 for in vitro assessment, prepared for in vivo biocompatibility and biofunctionality screening in WP5 and for long-term pre-clinical in vivo testing in WP6. Scaffolds and constructs will also be prepared for testing in WP4 and used for validation of the 3D in vitro assay and test system. Prototypes will be tested throughout the course of the project and feedback from WPs 03, 04, 05 and 06 will be used to optimise and fine-tune the properties of the materials.

Workpackage Description

Hydrogels offer many advantages over conventional scaffolds for regeneration of damaged tissues. They are water swollen polymer networks and they have been widely investigated in biomaterials research because of their ability to encapsulate cells and the possibility to incorporate biofunctional molecules. WP1 will develop novel hydrogel materials suitable for 3D-printing that support cartilage regeneration. 3D printing of hydrogels facilitates the creation of scaffolds having a zonal organization with specific biological cues (e.g. growth factors) that mimic the natural organization of cartilage.

3D printed thermosensitive hydrogel
Fig. 1: Example of a 3D printed thermosensitive hydrogel (Pharmaceutics, Utrecht University and Orthopedics, University Medical Centre Utrecht)

WP Leader

Utrecht University

Dr. Tina Vermonden