Nature-Inspired Unconventional Approaches to Develop 3D Bioceramic Scaffolds with Enhanced Regenerative Ability
Biomedicines. 2021 Jul 29;9(8):916.
Material science is a relevant discipline in support of regenerative medicine. Indeed, tissue regeneration requires the use of scaffolds able to guide and sustain the natural cell metabolism towards tissue regrowth. This need is particularly important in musculoskeletal regeneration, such as in the case of diseased bone or osteocartilaginous regions for which calcium phosphate-based scaffolds are considered as the golden solution. However, various technological barriers related to conventional ceramic processing have thus far hampered the achievement of biomimetic and bioactive scaffolds as effective solutions for still unmet clinical needs in orthopaedics. Driven by such highly impacting socioeconomic needs, new nature-inspired approaches promise to make a technological leap forward in the development of advanced biomaterials. The present review illustrates ion-doped apatites as biomimetic materials whose bioactivity resides in their unstable chemical composition and nanocrystallinity, both of which are, however, destroyed by the classical sintering treatment. In the following, recent nature-inspired methods preventing the use of high-temperature treatments, based on (i) chemically hardening bioceramics, (ii) biomineralisation process, and (iii) biomorphic transformations, are illustrated. These methods can generate products with advanced biofunctional properties, particularly biomorphic transformations represent an emerging approach that could pave the way to a technological leap forward in medicine and also in various other application fields.