Researchers at Drexel University have shown that a new type of ceramic scaffold triggers inflammatory cells to act in a way that aids regenerative tissue growth versus scaffolds that are currently being used.
In an article recently published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the researchers said they identified that inflammation, when precisely controlled, is crucial to bone repair. Their work is part of an effort to find new ways to use a combination of materials and mechanisms to help grow new tissue in critical-size bone defects caused by the removal of tumors or by traumatic injuries.
Working in collaboration with the University of Sydney, the Drexel researchers believed the success of their scaffold was likely due to macrophages, which are large phagocytic cells found in stationary form in the tissues or as a mobile white blood cell, especially at sites of infection. The group then seeded macrophages on three different types of scaffolds and compared the differences in their gene expression.
They found the new ceramic scaffolds caused macrophages to transform into an M2c phenotype, which is associated with remodeling. The transformation, however, was not observed in scaffolds approved for human use. Their findings also showed that macrophages must be in direct contact with the scaffold in order to regenerate tissue.
"The macrophages degrade the scaffolds and shape them into something new," Kara Spiller, an associate professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, said in a statement. "And that's the Holy Grail of tissue engineering—that you make a scaffold that replaces itself with healthy tissue.”
Additionally, the study found that analyzing the behavior of human cells outside of the body is good way to study the effectiveness of various biomaterials.
-here’s the release