Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Biomimetic biomaterial scaffolds promote and direct stem cell differentiation for regeneration of multiple skeletal tissue types

Technology #2850

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Helen Lu
Managed By
Satish Rao
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending 20130316454

Soft skeletal tissues such as cartilage, tendon, and ligament have limited regeneration potential, and current surgical tissue replacements lack integration with surrounding bone, resulting in poor long-term functionality. Tissue regeneration strategies using stem cells are a promising solution to address the shortcomings of current repair strategies. This technology describes methods for engineering multi-phase biomaterial scaffolds capable of directing stem cell differentiation toward multiple target cell types. This integrative design could be utilized as a tissue engineering approach for the repair of various soft tissue-to-bone interfaces, with enhanced fixation to surrounding host bone tissue for long-term tissue integration and functionality.

Tunable structural and biochemical cues precisely control stem cell differentiation for tissue repair

This technology provides a number of methods and scaffold designs for biomaterial-directed stem cell differentiation into a variety of skeletal tissues. Through use of the appropriate structural and biochemical cues, the biomimetic scaffolds mimic the nano- and micro-environment of the tissues of interest. Biomimetic tissue regions can then be combined into a complex composite scaffold for regeneration of multiple distinct yet contiguous tissue types on a single scaffold. Specifically, this technology identifies optimal biomaterial designs for osteogenic, chondrogenic, and fibroblastic induction of human stem cells, for the generation of various soft tissue-to-bone interfaces, as well as soft tissue grafts, with enhanced biological fixation to surrounding bone.

Bone, ligament, tendon, and cartilage tissues have been grown in vitro using this technology and these tissues exhibit native levels of characteristic biochemical tissue markers, as well as functional mechanical properties.

Lead Inventor:

Helen H. Lu, Ph.D.


  • Tissue engineering of skeletal tissues
  • Tissue engineering of other biological tissues
  • Scaffolds as research tools to study cellular responses to environmental changes
  • Scaffolds as research tools to study mechanical and chemical stimulation


  • A unified platform for the production of various skeletal tissues from a single cell source
  • Properties of the biomaterial are tunable
  • Various tissues can be grown using this platform
  • Stem cell fate can be directed using this platform
  • Cell behaviors can be investigated using this platform

Patent Information:

Patent Pending (US/2013/0316454)

Tech Ventures Reference: IR 2850

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