In consultation with ASTM and other stakeholders in Tissue-Engineered Medical Products (TEMPs) industry, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) initiated a project designed to produce Reference Material scaffolds for tissue engineering. The rationale for Reference Material scaffolds was developed through several NIST/Industry workshops. In brief, Reference Material scaffolds have multiple uses: facilitating the development and the validation of new test methods that measure interactions among various components of a TEMP; comparison with other scaffolds and scaffold materials in terms of cellular responses, biodegradation, and releases of growth factors; and comparisons of responses among various cell lines. The primary customers for Reference Material scaffolds are expected to be the TEMPs industry, academic researchers, regulators, and standards developing organizations. There are many properties of a TEMP that warrant development of multiple Reference Material scaffolds. Currently, NIST is defining a set of Reference Material scaffolds based on geometric descriptors such as permeability, pore volume, pore size distribution, interconnectivity, and tortuosity. In consultation with ASTM, NIST is testing three candidate scaffolds produced by: three dimensional (3-D) printing, stereolithography, and fused deposition modeling (FDM). Scaffolds made by these methods have been obtained from Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) (Cleveland, OH), and Osteopore International (Singapore), respectively, for structural characterization. These prototype scaffolds, with well-defined architectures, have been selected to address the following items of interest: 1) establishment of useful functional definitions of porosity content, interconnectivity, and pores; 2) evaluation of testing methods listed in the Standard Guide for the Porosity of Polymeric Scaffolds for Use in Tissue-Engineered Medical Products, which is being drafted by ASTM. Currently, NIST and the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the Food and Drug Administration, as well as other groups from US and foreign laboratories, are actively carrying out cross-validation test of these prototype scaffolds.

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