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Modular Microcarrier Technologies for Cell-based Bone Regeneration


A variety of materials-based approaches to accelerate the regeneration of damaged bone have been developed to meet the important clinical need for improved bone fillers. This comprehensive review covers the materials and technologies used in modular microcarrier-based methods for delivery of progenitor cells in orthopaedic repair applications. It provides an overview of the field and the rationale for using microcarriers combined with osteoprogenitor cells for bone regeneration in particular. The general concepts and methods used in microcarrier-based cell culture and delivery are described, and methods for fabricating and characterizing microcarriers designed for specific indications are presented. A comprehensive review of the current literature on the use of microcarriers in bone regeneration is provided, with emphasis on key developments in the field and their impact. The studies reviewed are organized according to the broad classes of materials that are used for fabricating microcarriers, including polysaccharides, proteins and peptides, ceramics, and synthetic polymers. In addition, composite microcarriers that incorporate multiple material types or that are mineralized biomimetically are included. In each case, the fabrication, processing, characterization, and resulting function of the microcarriers is described, with an emphasis on their ability to support osteogenic differentiation of progenitor cells in vitro, and their effectiveness in healing bone defects in vivo. In addition, a summary of the current state of the field is provided, as are future perspectives on how microcarrier technologies may be enhanced to create improved cell-based therapies for bone regeneration.

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Article information

13 Jan 2020
17 Mar 2020
First published
18 Mar 2020

J. Mater. Chem. B, 2020, Accepted Manuscript
Article type
Review Article

Modular Microcarrier Technologies for Cell-based Bone Regeneration

C. E. Nweke and J. P. Stegemann, J. Mater. Chem. B, 2020, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/D0TB00116C

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