Hybrid hydrogels for tissue engineering
Synthetic scaffolds mimicking the optimum biological environment are instrumental in the development of stem cell-based therapies. Here, biodegradability, toxicity, pore size, surface morphology, and scaffold elasticity are all critical parameters for optimization for a given application.
The outcomes of such therapies crucially depend on both stem cell proliferation and differentiation, processes which are drugable. As these processes are sequential, scaffolds that allow for staged delivery of cues in a cell directed fashion are highly attractive. A current research focus is therefore to develop hybrid scaffolds containing nanoparticulate drug carriers, where the delivery of different drugs can be achieved with both spatial and temporal control.