Issue Date: January 29, 2007
Woven scaffold mimics cartilage
Researchers at Duke University and MIT have developed a three-dimensional weaving technique for making biodegradable scaffolds that mimic the properties of natural cartilage (Nat. Mater., DOI: 10.1038/nmat1822). Duke's Farshid Guilak and coworkers use a custom-built loom to weave the scaffolds (shown) from alternating layers of polyglycolic acid yarn oriented perpendicularly to one another. A third set of fibers winds around the layers, locking the structure together. By changing the number of fibers in each layer, Guilak's group can control the scaffold's mechanical properties. Next, the researchers create a composite material by combining the woven material with a biocompatible hydrogel and seed that composite with cartilage cells. Even before the cells are added, the scaffold has mechanical properties similar to those of cartilage. This opens the possibility of developing implants that support the growth of cartilage inside a patient, rather than having to first grow the replacement cartilage in cultures before implantation.
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