Am J Stem Cell 2012;1(1):81-89

Original Article
Towards high throughput tissue engineering: development of chitosan-calcium
phosphate scaffolds for engineering bone tissue from embryonic stem cells

Junghyuk Ko, Kathleen Kolehmainen, Farid Ahmed, Martin B.G. Jun, Stephanie M. Willerth

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3P6, Canada; Department of Biochemistry and
Microbiology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3N5, Canada; Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W
2Y2, Canada.

Received September 28, 2011; accepted October 19, 2011; Epub October 20, 2011; published January 1, 2012

Abstract: Tissue engineering strategies have shown promise for the repair of damaged organs, including bone. One of the major
challenges associated with tissue engineering is how to scale up such processes for high throughput manufacturing of biomaterial
scaffolds used to support stem cell culture. Generation of certain types of 3D biomaterial scaffolds, including chitosan-calcium
phosphate blends, involves a slow fabrication process followed by a lengthy required freeze drying step. This work investigates the use
of automated microwave vacuum drying technology as an alternative to traditional freezing drying as a method of fabricating
chitosan-calcium phosphate scaffolds for supporting embryonic stem cell cultures. Scaffolds produced using both drying techniques
possess similar properties when characterized using scanning electron microscopy and this paper is the first to report that both types of
these scaffolds support undifferentiated embryonic stem cell culture as well as promote stem cell differentiation into osteogenic
lineages when treated with the appropriate factors. Compared to existing scaffold manufacturing processes using freezing drying, the
use of microwave vacuum drying will lead to faster production times while reducing the costs, enabling high-throughput manufacturing of
biomaterial scaffolds for stem cell applications. (AJSC1109001).

Keywords: Regenerative medicine, embryonic stem cells, osteogenesis, biomaterials, composites

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Address all correspondence to:
Dr. Stephanie Willerth
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC V8W 3P6, Canada.
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