Porous degradable polyester scaffolds
Abstract: Tissue engineering is a growing research field in which degradable porous scaffolds are used to regenerate tissue from the patients own cells. The problems due to donor shortage or the lack of full property restoration from prosthetic implants can thereby be overcome. It is important that the polymers used in tissue engineering, as in any medical application, have well controlled properties. Equally important is the ability to tailor these properties to suite a specific application. The development of fabrication processes that enables tailoring, without any uncontrolled changes in characteristics, is thereby imperative.In this thesis, the creation of porous scaffolds focusing on tailoring and customizing the scaffold properties is described. Tailoring was achieved by selecting the proper monomers and their compositions when copolymerizing different cyclic aliphatic ester monomers and an ether-ester monomer. Porous structures applicable for both soft and hard tissue regeneration were obtained comprising a range of predetermined mechanical and thermal properties. In detail, stannous octoate was used as the catalyst in ring-opening polymerization of L,L-lactide (LLA), ?-caprolactone (CL) and 1,5-dioxepane-2-one (DXO) to attain the wide assortment of copolymers with different monomers and monomer compositions. Highly porous scaffolds having well interconnected pores were obtained through the development of a versatile solvent casting and porogen leaching technique.The reactions induced by high energy radiation in the form of electron beam and gamma-ray were used to finalize the scaffold properties. This was achieved by creating polymers possessing predetermined reaction mechanisms when irradiated. Changes in the nature of the radiation, the radiation dose, the type of monomers, the composition and thus the microstructure of the chain gave ways to alter the susceptibility and the reaction mechanism of the polymers. Thus, predicted end-products are obtainable and the sterilization procedure is consequently incorporated as a final step in the scaffold fabrication.
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