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Natural Materials, Molecular Recognition and Rapid Prototyping: Three Ingredients for a Successful Recipe in Tissue Repair

Gianluca Ciardelli 

Deprtment of Chemical Engineering, via Diotisalvi, 2, Pisa 56126, Italy


The technology of molecular imprinting permits recognition sites to be inserted into a polymeric material through the polymerization of a monomer in the presence of a template. In this way, advanced intelligent systems to be applied in the biomedical field as drug release devices or selective membranes can be realised. Cross-linked methylmethacrylate-methacrylic acid nanospheres were obtained directly through polymerisation. These nanoparticles have a capacity to recognise and rebind the template which is a function of the amount of functional groups in the copolymer. These results open the way to the realisation of systems with tuneable release and rebinding properties by varying the chemical composition of the copolymer. Another approach consists in developing an imprint matrix by the phase inversion precipitation technique. Recently, we applied this approach to realise porous membranes containing specific sites for molecules of clinical interest or proteins.
Tissue engineering (TE) and guided tissue repair are very rapidly developing new areas of science. These techniques generally require the use of three-dimensional (3D) supports for initial cell attachment and subsequent tissue formation. Two new developing rapid prototyping techniques (Selective laser sintering and pressure assisted microsyringe) were applied to fabricate polyester based degradable structures for tissue regeneration, with a spatial resolution that can be regulated down to about 10 . microns. Cell attachment to microfabricated structures was higher than to membrane samples, indicating that surface topography and roughness have a positive influence on adhesion.
The two research lines are intended to meet by envisaging the creation of scaffolds for the growth of tissues and organs based on polymers imprinted with specific adhesion peptides or proteins.

The work was carried out in the framework of the STReP-project (HIPERMAX/ NMP-3-CT-2003-505790) funded by the European Commission


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Presentation: invited oral at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2004, Symposium B, by Gianluca Ciardelli
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2004

Submitted: 2004-04-29 18:59
Revised:   2009-06-08 12:55