Polymer concepts in tissue engineering

S. J. Peter, M. J. Miller, A. W. Yasko, M. J. Yaszemski, A. G. Mikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

330 Scopus citations


Traumatic injuries, cancer treatment, and congenital abnormalities are often associated with abnormal bone shape or segmental bone loss. Restoration of normal structure and function in these cases requires replacement of the missing bone that may be accomplished by surgical transfer of natural tissue from an uninjured location elsewhere in the body. However, this procedure is limited by availability, adequate blood supply, and secondary deformities at the donor site. One strategy to overcome these problems is to develop living tissue substitutes based on synthetic biodegradable polymers. Three methods of bone regeneration using biodegradable polymers are being studied in our laboratory: tissue induction, cell transplantation, and fabrication of vascularized bone flaps. Injectable polymers are used for filling skeletal defects and guiding bone tissue growth. Their main advantage is minimizing the surgical intervention or the severity of the surgery. Polymer-cell constructs also hold great promise in the field of tissue engineering. They provide a scaffold on which cells grow and organize themselves. As the cells begin to secrete their own extracellular matrix, the polymer degrades and is eventually eliminated from the body, resulting in completely natural tissue replacement. Bone flaps can be fabricated ectopically into precise shapes and sizes. With an attached vascular supply, these flaps can be transferred into areas deficient in vascularity. This article discusses polymer concepts regarding bone tissue engineering and reviews recent advances of our laboratory on guided bone regeneration using biodegradable polymer scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-427
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998


  • Bone flaps
  • Injectable polymers
  • Poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid)
  • Poly (propylene fumarate)
  • Polymer-cell constructs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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