Microscope cross section of bone

Mimicking Bone - Chemical and Physical Challenges

Sophie C Cox


It is known that chemical and physical features of bone contribute to its functionality, reactivity and mechanical performance. This fundamental rationale underpins the author’s research strategy. This paper presents a summary of efforts to fabricate a synthetic structure, referred to as a scaffold, that both chemically and physical emulates the intricate structure of bone. An understanding of key features of bone tissue that contribute to its remarkable properties is presented as a background to this work. Novel work aimed at improving the understanding of the synthesis of a ceramic biomaterial, namely hydroxyapatite, that is chemically similar to bone mineral is discussed. A case study involving the manufacture of porous scaffolds by 3D printing is also presented. In summary, this article highlights a number of on-going challenges that multidisciplinary tissue engineers aim to solve to get one step closer to mimicking bone, which clinically could improve the quality of life for millions of people worldwide. 


Photo credit: By Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc. (Author's archive) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Bone tissue engineering; Scaffolds; Hydroxyapatite; Synthesis; Characterisation

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