Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics Research Group

Invited Lecture

Engineering Patient-specific bioprinted constructs for treatment of degenerated Intervertebral Disc


Project Description: Lower back pain (LBP), which is strongly associated with intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, is one of the most frequently reported age- and work-related disorder in actual society, leading to a huge socio-economic impact worldwide.

The current treatments have poor clinical outcomes and thus there is a growing interest in the potential of cell-based tissue engineering (TE) approaches aimed to regenerate the damaged IVD and restore full disc function. Silk fibroin scaffolds have promising features for tissue engineering strategies, once the physico-chemical and biological performances of the scaffolds can be tailored in a wide range by using different formulations and blending with elastin to mimic IVD ultrastructure. The proposed two-stage strategy consists in perform total IVD substitution/regeneration using a personalized approach by means of using reverse engineering, i.e. combining imaging techniques (e.g. MRI and micro-CT) and 3D-bioprinting technology.

In the first stage, human IVD datasets (MRI or CT) are adequately analyzed for developing accurate 3D models that mimic the native IVD sub-compartments. In the second stage, silk-based hydrogels are printed as 3D anatomical scaffolds and characterized thoroughly in vitro.

The implantation of custom-made silk/elastin implants closely mimicking native IVD and possessing an appropriate size, shape, mechanical performance, and biodegradability can improve recovery time after surgery and help to restore spine biofunctionality.

Encontro Ciência 2017
intervertebral disc, regeneration
Open Access
Peer Reviewed
Year of Publication
Date Published
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