EPSRC - Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine

Delivery and 3D products

3D pageThe delivery of cells to the patient in a clinical setting raises scientific and technological challenges. Simple injection of cell suspensions into a disease site is inefficient, resulting in wastage of cells, compromised viability of the medicine and poor starting conditions for the regeneration of the target tissue. The EPSRC Centre investigates the development of materials to aid cell delivery to the target tissue, with a particular focus on the challenges of creating reproducible 3D scaffolds.


Case studies

EPSRC Centre researchers have developed novel polymers that have the potential to be used as injectable scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. These polymers are thermally responsive, forming strong gels at body temperature.

Working with a leading ear, nose and throat consultant treating patients following tumour removal, researchers are using the exemplar of 3D printed nasal replacement structures to investigate the challenges of printing 3D cell-scaffold combination products – co-printing live cells within a polymer scaffold, characterising the combination product and the regulatory considerations of this process.

Electrospinning techniques have been used to produce scaffolds to support the epithelial stem cell niche. 3D patterns were identifi ed, patterned collectors fabricated and then electrospun scaffolds manufactured so that they bore the tailored geometries. These patterns were found to affect both fibre deposition and arrangement, and the resulting scaffold geometries have been found to influence in vitro cell migration.

A recent project investigated an in vitro 3D model lymph node comprising human dendritic cells and T cells housed within a perfusable 3D fibronectin-coated polymer scaffold. This resulted in a new manufacturing method to enhance the porosity of supercritical CO2 foamed scaffolds using an ultrasound technique post-scaffold fabrication.

In one of our newest projects, we collaborate with Calabrodental, a dental technologies organisation in Italy. A new regenerative spray has been invented for dental applications, and the further development and manufacture of this product will be progressed via EU funding.

Collaborators’ testimonials

“Working with Prof Shakesheff and the EPSRC Centre has accelerated Calabrodental’s product development work and created a new important opportunity to manufacture a regenerative product for dental and maxillofacial applications.”

Dr Marco Tatullo, Director of Research, Calabrodental


“Locate Therapeutics has benefitted greatly from collaborating with the EPSRC Centre. Accessing first-class materials and drug delivery expertise has helped transition ideas from early proof of concept into full development. The outputs have great potential across a range of regenerative medicine applications.”

Dr Rob Quirk, Director, Locate Therapeutics

Key outputs

  • Patent application pending for scaffold manufacture from responsive magnetic particulate dispersions for ex-vivo cellular expansion.
  • High profile publication ‘Combined hydrogels that switch human pluripotent stem cells from self-renewal to differentiation’ published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Kevin Shakesheff named RISE Leader in EPSRC’s Recognising Inspirational Scientists and Engineers programme.
  • Key journal publications in Polymer, Biomaterials, Acta Biomaterialia, Biomedical Materials and Journal of Colloid and Interface Science.


Projects within the Delivery and 3D Products theme