Current Strategies of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Every year, neuro-degenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer, Parkinson, etc.) have direct consequences on millions of people. Nine out of ten individuals, over the age of eighty years, will probably suffer from a brain disorder, which covers 35% of all human diseases. Since the last century, several techniqu
es and methods have been developed to support researchers, medical doctors and scientists to understand disease mechanisms and develop possible cures and treatments. Among the others, neural tissue engineering (NTE) is a specific branch of tissue engineering (TE) that aims at designing and fabricating biomimetic scaffolds, i.e. structures able to mimic the natural neuronal environment. As such, biomimetic neural scaffolds act as means of study and investigation of stimulated and spontaneous neural cell activities. The fabrications of such scaffolds is not evident. Among the others, additive manufacturing can provide a number of advantages, with respect to complex design, broad range of applicable materials, and realisation of multifunctional structure. In this lecture, the most recent trends in NTE for in vitro applications via additive manufacturing will be reviewed. Particular attention will be given to the applied materials and technologies, along with application examples.