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Keywords:

  • biomaterials;
  • calcium phosphates;
  • drug:delivery;
  • printing

Abstract

The combination of a degradable bioceramic scaffold and a drug-delivery system in a single low temperature fabrication step is attractive for the reconstruction of bone defects. The production of calcium phosphate scaffolds by a multijet 3D printing system enables localized deposition of biologically active drugs and proteins with a spatial resolution of approximately 300 µm. In addition, homogeneous or localized polymer incorporation during printing with HPMC or chitosan hydrochloride allows the drug release kinetics to be retarded from first to zero order over a period of 3–4 days with release rates in the range 0.68%–0.96% h−1. The reduction in biological activity of vancomycin, heparin, and rhBMP-2 following spraying through the ink jet nozzles is between 1% and 18%. For vancomycin, a further loss of biological activity following incorporation into a cement and subsequent in vitro release is 11%. While previously acknowledged as theoretically feasible, is its shown for the first time that bone grafts with simultaneous geometry, localized organic bioactive loading, and localized diffusion control are a physical reality. This breakthrough offers a new future for patients by providing the required material function to match patient bone health status, site of repair, and age.