Solvent-free tissue engineering scaffold fabrication with immiscible polymer blends and solid-state foaming

Life Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing


  • Liang Ma , University of Texas at Austin
  • Wei Jiang , University of Texas at Austin
  • Wei Li, Ph.D. , Mechanical Engineering

Background/unmet need

3D tissue culture has become a popular technique in both academic and pharmaceutical laboratories. This type of cell culture better mirrors the environment experienced by normal cells in the body and is of particular advantage in drug discovery and tissue engineering. The current scaffolds for 3D cell culture used often require the use of organic solvent to produce the final product. Residual organic solvents can have detrimental effects on cell growth and a fabrication method that eliminates the need to employ organic solvents is desired.

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have recently developed a solvent-free fabrication method of polylactic acid (PLA) tissue engineering scaffolds using non-toxic materials (e.g., sucrose). The method not only eliminates the need for organic solvent, but also allows the creation of highly porous scaffolds with controllable pore size. The investigators were able to show that glioblastoma cells grew very well on this PLA scaffold and that the scaffold facilitates nutrient transfer and cell spreading. The ability of this product to achieve small pore sizes (25-200 micrometers) eases the assembly of the cells on the 3D scaffold. Because this method of fabrication does not require the use of organic solvent, long-term cell culture can be achieved without the worry of undesired cell death due to solvents. 


  • Solvent-free
  • Biodegradable
  • Above 90% porosity
  • Controllable pore size between 25-200 micrometers
  • Controllable scaffold strength
  • Quick production
  • Cost effective
  • Adaptable for large well-plate formats 

Market potential/applications

Regenerative medicine 

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype