Solid freeform fabrication of three-dimensional scaffolds for engineering replacement tissues and organs
Most tissue engineering (TE) strategies for creating functional replacement tissues or organs rely on the application of temporary three-dimensional scaffolds to guide the proliferation and spread of seeded cells in vitro and in vivo. The characteristics of TE scaffolds are major concerns in the quest to fabricate ideal scaffolds. This paper identifies essential structural characteristics and the pre-requisites for fabrication techniques that can yield scaffolds that are capable of directing healthy and homogeneous tissue development. Emphasis is given to solid freeform (SFF), also known as rapid prototyping, technologies which are fast becoming the techniques of choice for scaffold fabrication with the potential to overcome the limitations of conventional manual-based fabrication techniques. SFF-fabricated scaffolds have been found to be able to address most, if not all the macro- and micro-architectural requirements for TE applications. This paper reviews the application/potential application of state-of-the-art SFF fabrication techniques in creating TE scaffolds. The advantages and limitations of the SFF techniques are compared. Related research carried out worldwide by different institutions, including the authors’ research are discussed.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 24, Issue 13, June 2003, Pages 2363–2378