Additive Manufacture of Tissue Engineering Scaffolds For Articular Cartilage
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Chondral and osteochondral (OC) damages due to age-related degeneration or acute trauma of joint commonly result in the development of osteoarthritis, which will lead to progressive total joint destruction since the articular cartilage (AC) has limited regenerative ability. Several attempts have been made to alleviate the symptoms and resolve lesion, however very few results have been achieved so far due to the newly formed tissue’s failure to mimic the zonal structural organization of AC and inferior mechanical properties. Recent advances in computational modeling enable the design of scaffolds with complex internal architectures and surface topology tailored to the AC tissue. Combined with the latest development in additive manufacturing (AM), current tissue engineering grew to develop promising approaches of tissue regeneration, which focuses on creating scaffolds that not only mimic native AC both in structure and composition, but also result in similar mechanical properties and restore joint functionality. In this work, a continuous Stereolithography (SLA) printing system is developed and demonstrated to build part up to 3 centimeters in size with defined resolution. The continuous SLA process takes advantage of an uncured layer of resin due to oxygen inhibition of polymerization, and is able to produce parts in minutes instead of hours compared to conventional layer-by-layer procedure.