Scaffolds are used to support organ systems and organs that may have been damaged after a disease or injury. This is done by using tissue engineering along with regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering is the use of combination of cells along with suitable physio-chemical and biochemical factors so as to replace or improve biological functions.
Scaffolds are either cultured in vitro to synthesize tissue or are directly implanted to the injured site. Scaffolds are produced using variety of biomaterials and different fabrication techniques. While determining the suitability of a scaffold number of key considerations are important such as biocompatibility, mechanical properties, biodegradability and scaffold architecture.
The major factor driving the scaffold technology is the increasing R&D undertaking and the advantage of replacing animal trials by real time biological environment research. Such research takes care of the ethical as well as the regulatory issues. With the increasing use of scaffolds, researchers are at a better position to understand the biological activity of particular treatment on human body. As synthetic scaffold do mimic the biological environment they are naturally preferred over animal trials. In addition, the technology has advanced the way scaffold are manufactured. Manufacturers are now incorporating the application of 3D printing technology in the scaffold manufacturing process.
Moreover, the use of scaffold is increasing in stem cell research too with incremental number of clinical trials undertaken with stem cells scaffolds. Scientists at the Universities of Liverpool and Bristol are performing clinical trial on humans with their ‘live bandage’. The bandage made from stem cells could revolutionize the prognosis and treatment of sporting knee injury. Meniscal tears suffered by major population in the U.S. and Europe are difficult to repair as there is lack of blood supply in the white zone of meniscus. The bandage was developed by Azellon received funding from Innovate UK. The stem cell research was a close collaboration between hospitals, business and universities.
InVivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp. (NVIV) received FDA and IRB approval for its neuro-spinal scaffold. The company started it clinical trial at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson. InVivo through its new treatment platform which utilizes a biocompatible polymer-based promotes structural support for spinal cord regeneration along with improving prognosis and functional recovery after a traumatic SCI.
North America is the dominating region in the scaffold technology market with the presence of dominant market players, technology adoption and the increasing stem cell and regenerative medicine research undertakings. Moreover, the research institutes are exploring in this field to discover newer application of scaffold technology. The National Institutes of Health-funded scientists developed 3D micro-scaffold technology which aids in reprogramming stem cells into neurons along with supporting neuronal connections. Injecting these network instead of individual cell injection proved better survival in mouse brain. The new research supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering experienced the collaborative work of biomaterial experts and stem cell biologists.
Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing region with developing countries such as China undertaking collaborative research along with international players in the field of regenerative medicine. China Southeast University Institute of Life Sciences and Boehringer Ingelheim announced a joint research to develop a treatment approaches through regeneration of hair cells from inner ear stem cells for hearing loss. The expertise of researcher Renjie Chai would be collaborated with Boehringer’s expertise in drug discovery and clinical development. The research collaboration with China comes under Boehringer’s newly-established organization Research Beyond Borders.
The market players in the HPMC capsule market Koninklijke DSM N.V., Arterial Remodeling Technologies S.A., Spine Smith, LP, Orthocell LTD, Invivo Therapeutics Holdings Corp., Lifenet Inc, Biostage, Inc., Arsenal Medical Inc, Organogenesis, Inc. and Tissue Regenix Group Plc.
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Industry players are developing proprietary technologies to manufacture multiple tissues for tissue repair and regeneration. DSM processes porcine derived tissues by using proprietary OPTRIX technology for manufacturing biologic surgical grafts. These surgical grafts are used to reinforce and repair soft tissue defects. The OPTRIX technology can be applied to multiple tissue sources to produce soft tissue regeneration products for variety of clinical applications.
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