Silsesquioxane polymer as a potential scaffold for laryngeal reconstruction

Mehrban, Nazia; Bowen, James; Tait, Angela; Darbyshire, Arnold; Virasami, Alex K.; Lowdell, Mark W. and Birchall, Martin A. (2018). Silsesquioxane polymer as a potential scaffold for laryngeal reconstruction. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 92 pp. 565–574.



Cancer, disease and trauma to the larynx and their treatment can lead to permanent loss of structures critical to voice, breathing and swallowing. Engineered partial or total laryngeal replacements would need to match the ambitious specifications of replicating functionality, outer biocompatibility, and permissiveness for an inner mucosal lining. Here we present porous polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane-poly(carbonate urea) urethane (POSS-PCUU) as a potential scaffold for engineering laryngeal tissue. Specifically, we employ a precipitation and porogen leaching technique for manufacturing the polymer. The polymer is chemically consistent across all sample types and produces a foam-like scaffold with two distinct topographies and an internal structure composed of nano- and micro-pores. Whilst the highly porous internal structure of the scaffold contributes to the complex tensile behaviour of the polymer, the surface of the scaffold remains largely non-porous. The low number of pores minimise access for cells, although primary fibroblasts and epithelial cells do attach and proliferate on the polymer surface. Our data show that with a change in manufacturing protocol to produce porous polymer surfaces, POSS-PCUU may be a potential candidate for overcoming some of the limitations associated with laryngeal reconstruction and regeneration.

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