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Keywords:

  • bone tissue engineering;
  • orthopedics;
  • drug delivery;
  • biomimetics

Abstract

Critical-sized defects in bone, whether induced by primary tumor resection, trauma, or selective surgery have in many cases presented insurmountable challenges to the current gold standard treatment for bone repair. The primary purpose of a tissue-engineered scaffold is to use engineering principles to incite and promote the natural healing process of bone which does not occur in critical-sized defects. A synthetic bone scaffold must be biocompatible, biodegradable to allow native tissue integration, and mimic the multidimensional hierarchical structure of native bone. In addition to being physically and chemically biomimetic, an ideal scaffold is capable of eluting bioactive molecules (e.g., BMPs, TGF-βs, etc., to accelerate extracellular matrix production and tissue integration) or drugs (e.g., antibiotics, cisplatin, etc., to prevent undesired biological response such as sepsis or cancer recurrence) in a temporally and spatially controlled manner. Various biomaterials including ceramics, metals, polymers, and composites have been investigated for their potential as bone scaffold materials. However, due to their tunable physiochemical properties, biocompatibility, and controllable biodegradability, polymers have emerged as the principal material in bone tissue engineering. This article briefly reviews the physiological and anatomical characteristics of native bone, describes key technologies in mimicking the physical and chemical environment of bone using synthetic materials, and provides an overview of local drug delivery as it pertains to bone tissue engineering is included. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2009