Alginate-Based Nanofibrous Electrospun Scaffolds

Principal Investigator: Miqin Zhang

Nanofiber scaffolds have been proposed for a variety of uses in tissue engineering. The scaffolds are commonly produced through electrospinning and have been proposed for use as replacement cartilage, nerve grafts, skin substitutes, and other applications. Both synthetic and natural polymers have been used to produce nanofibrous scaffolds; however, natural polymers are preferred due to their superior biocompatibility. Few viable products have been produced using natural biopolymers due to complications with the electrospinning process, solubility of polymers, viscosity of the solutions, and the ability to control and size fibers.

This invention is a device and method for producing natural nanofibers made out of alginate. Fibers are constructed from a solution of alginate and a hydrophilic polymer to create a mesh of alginate fibers. The fibers have diameters that can range from 20-2000 nm, and are composed of 30-95 percent alginate based on the weight of the fiber. The fibers are crosslinked, and can be formed together to form a scaffold. Furthermore, scaffolds can be functionalized using a number of proteins and other biologically active materials.

• Nanofibrous scaffolds can be used in implantable devices, such as cartilage substitutes in joints. 

• Cells can be grown in the scaffolds for tissue regeneration and repair. 

• Biocompatible grafts that mesh with existing tissue can be produced using this method. 

• Alginate fibers can be mixed with other fibers to create scaffolds for a particular type of cell. 

• Fibers made from alginate are naturally biocompatible and can be combined with other materials. 

• Electrospinning of alginate nanofibers overcomes technical challenges of solubility and viscosity. 

• Alginate is commonly used in current non-fibrous implants.

For more info, contact: Lisa Norton