3D Shape Memory Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

Case ID: 016-005-Zhang

Over 120,000 patients are currently waiting for lifesaving organ and tissue transplants. Tissue engineering has the potential to innovate transplant and minimally invasive surgery by creating tissue substitutes from biopolymers with human stem cells. 

GW researchers developed a plant oil infused biopolymer with unique characteristics that are highly compatible to human tissue engineering. The co-polymerization of polycaprolactone (PCL) triol and castor oil yields a translucent biopolymer that exhibits tri-shape memory effects. Importantly, the synthetic biomaterials can be implanted in a compressed state and can subsequently recover their original shape at human body temperature.

Compared to existing PCL scaffolds, the novel biomaterials demonstrated greater adhesion and proliferation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Currently, PCL biomaterials on the market are opaque-white and can only recover their original shape above human body temperature. The translucency and temperature properties of the plant oil-based biopolymer allow for superior applications in minimally invasive surgery.

Flow Diagram of Shape Memory 3D Scaffold Filling Bone Defect


  • Fill defects in a variety of tissues including bone, cartilage, and more with custom-fit scaffold
  • Fill large tissue defects that require vascularization
  • Use with minimally invasive surgery


  • Recovers original shape at human body temperature
  • Transparent biomaterial enables easier analysis for prototype evaluation
  • Enhanced adhesion and proliferation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells
  • Compatible with multiple human cell lines, including coronary artery smooth muscle cells and umbilical vein endothelial cells
  • Utilizes economical and renewable plant oil

Patent Information:

Title App Type Country Patent No. File Date Issued Date Patent Status
Biocompatible Smart Biomaterials with Tunable Shape Changing and Enhanced Cytocompatibility Properties Nationalized PCT United States   2/23/2018   Published

For Information, Contact:

Brian Coblitz
Sr. Licensing Manager
George Washington University


Shida Miao
Wei Zhu
Nathan Castro
Lijie Zhang