Silica Materials as Smart Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering
Silicon is the most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Its biocompatibility and inert nature have largely contributed to its use in biomedical applications. It can be fabricated into different morphologies with tunable porosity, mechanical and chemical properties. In addition, silicon-based materials can also alter the gene expression levels in a dose-dependent manner. These properties have made it a popular choice for designing smart scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. Though the majority of the work on silica-based scaffolds and its composites has focused on its ability to accelerate bone tissue formation, recent research has revealed its effectiveness in regenerating soft tissues. This chapter highlights the advances made in the field of tissue engineering employing silica-based scaffolds.