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Biomed Mater. 2007 Sep;2(3):189-95. doi: 10.1088/1748-6041/2/3/004. Epub 2007 Aug 23.

A novel direct fibre generation technique for preparing functionalized and compound scaffolds and membranes for applications within the life sciences.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, University College London, Torrington Place, London WC1E 7JE, UK.


Fibres, scaffolds and membranes have shown in the past decade their tremendous applicability to the life sciences. Essentially, these constructs have recently spearheaded focused applications in and within approaches to assist in the development of biologically active tissues to effective mechanisms for targeted and controlled cellular/drug delivery. There are several routes for forming continuous fibres from which functionalized scaffolds to membranes are prepared. One such technique that has demonstrated its wide versatility is none other than electrospinning. This is an electrified threading process capable of generating micro- and nano-sized (<50 nm) threads, which have been explored with a wide range of material compositions in their many manifestations. Although this threading process is economical and flexible, the process has its downsides, namely the associated high voltage to the preclusion of threading highly conducting viscoelastic media. In the current work we unveil a three-needle pressure-assisted spinning (PAS) approach comparable to coaxial- or co-electrospinning, without the hazardous high voltage and possessing the ability to thread highly conducting viscoelastic media from which pre-designed to functionalized compound structural units could be generated. Previously in our hands we demonstrated this technique with a two-needle system, which was only able to process a single- or multi-phase suspension at any given time. In its present form, two single/multi-phase miscible or immiscible media could be processed simultaneously. Therefore, PAS would be most useful to the biomedical world because a majority of biological media containing biological matter such as living cells have within them unprecedented concentrations of ions, which are needed by the living organisms for maintaining the cells/organisms' intricate metabolisms. In our hands, pressure-assisted spinning will compete directly with electrospinning and have a revolutionary effect on the fibre, scaffold and membrane preparation arena as applied to the plethora of applications within the life sciences.

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