Description:

INV-21085

 

Background

Nanofibrous scaffolds can mimic the mechanical and structural properties of the natural extracellular matrix (ECM) and tissues (e.g., collagenous tissues), thereby demonstrating high potential in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. However, the rapid and reproducible fabrication of biomimetic scaffolds for tissue engineering applications has remained a challenge. For instance, engineered collagenous connective tissues should replicate the high collagen density, aligned fibrillar organization, and anisotropic mechanical properties of native tissues. Common approaches involve extruding concentrated collagen as fibers with the aid of electrical fields, centrifugal forces, differential solvent baths, shear flow, or 3D printing. However, these methods have some disadvantages, including a lack of control over fiber orientation and thus poor scalability of the scaffold, the complexity of the process, and potential toxicity of the solvents. Therefore, there is a high demand to design new fabrication approaches to increase the efficiency and scalability of nanofibrous scaffold production.

 

Technology Overview

Researchers at Northeastern have designed an efficient, compact system that enables robotic control into precision tissue engineering. This device produces organized, uniaxial fibrillar network arrangements, while maintaining the natural ultrastructure of the starting material. The dimensions of the individual components of the device can be altered to produce customized aligned networks. Increasing the size of the components results in an increase in the dimensions of the final network, which can be beneficial in tissue engineering applications. In this system, a sacrificial layer, which is a key feature to getting the system to reproducibly form fiber scaffolds, is incorporated. Furthermore, this device allows the integration of other polymers into the network, creating multi-component scaffolds and improve network biocompatibility. Unlike other fabrication techniques, this platform does not require the use of harsh solvents, pumps, electric or magnetic fields, or printers to align fibrils. It aligns fibers and produces the scaffold with little sample preparation in less than two hours. Finally, this unique platform is produced from inexpensive and commercially available materials with minimal machine work, which makes the platform highly cost-effective and efficient.

 

Benefits

  • Rapid and reproducible fibril alignment
  • Possibility of producing customized aligned networks
  • Possibility of incorporating multiple polymers in the network
  • Cost-effective and efficient
  • Commercial availability of materials
  • Design simplicity

 

Applications

  • Tissue engineering
  • Production of in vitro platforms such as extracellular matrix
  • Textile design

 

Opportunity

  • Licensing
  • Research collaboration
  • Partnership
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Vaibhav Saini
Senior Manager Commercialization
Northeastern University
v.saini@northeastern.edu
Inventors:
Cassandra Martin
Leila Deravi
Jeffrey Paten
Keywords:
biomaterial-based scaffold
Collagen
concentric cylinders
fibril alignment