Multiscale scaffold for tendon and ligament tissue regeneration and replacement

The present invention is referred to a scaffold able to reconstruct/replace the tendon/ligament tissue, and to the processes to obtain the scaffold. The innovative element of this device resides in its inherent ability to mimic accurately the complex multiscale aggregation of these kind of tissues.

Title of the patent A multiscale scaffold to regenerate and/or replace tendon/ligament tissue and production method.
Thematic area Biomedical
Ownership Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna
Inventors Alberto Sensini, Luca Cristofolini, Chiara Gualandi, Maria Letizia Focarete, Juri Belcari, Andrea Zucchelli
Protection Italy (a wider geographical coverage is still possible)
Licensing status Available for licensing agreement
Keywords scaffold, multiscale, tendon, ligament, electrospinning, bundles, sheath, sleeve
Filed on Jun 12, 2017

In the tissue engineering research field, the scaffold has a key role in order to confer an ideal environment for cells adhesion, migration and proliferation. The multiscale morphology of the scaffold is crucial for the correct regeneration of the tissues. 

The inventors conceived a multiscale scaffold that permits to regenerate and/or replace the tendon and/or ligament tissue. In particular the scaffold is able to reproduce the hierarchical structure and the biomechanical properties of tendons and ligaments. The inventors also designed a method for producing a nanofibrous sheath on the scaffold (similar to the epitenon/endotenon and/or epiligament/endoligament) able to confer protection, mechanical properties, diameter reduction and cells filtration to the scaffold. 

Fields of application

  • Regeneration, replacement and/or simulation of tendon and/or ligament tissue.



  • Possibility to include in the body of the multiscale scaffold any number of bundles of any diameter. The sheath is also able to unit each other, some multiscale scaffolds
  • Absence of ground collectors in the body of the scaffold to produce the sheath.
  • Reproduce the multiscale morphology and the biomechanical properties of the tendon and ligament tissue.

A. Sensini, C. Gualandi, L. Cristofolini, G. Tozzi, M. Dicarlo, G. Teti, M. Mattioli-Belmonte, M. L. Focarete, Biofabrication of bundle of poly(lactic acid)-collagen blends mimicking the fascicles of the human Achille tendon, Biofabrication, 9, pp. 1 - 16, 2017.

A. Sensini, A. P. Kao, G. Tozzi, M. L. Focarete, J. Belcari, A. Zucchelli, L. Cristofolini, High-resolution x-ray tomographic morphological characterization of electrospun nanofibrous bundles for tendon and ligament regeneration and replacement, in press on Journal of Microscopy, 2018.

A. Sensini, C. Gualandi, A. Zucchelli, L. Boyle, A. P. Kao, G. G. Reilly, G. Tozzi, L. Cristofolini, M. L. Focarete, Tendon Fascicle-Inspired Nanofibrous Scaffold of Polylactic acid/Collagen with Enhanced 3D-Structure and Biomechanical Properties, under revision Scientific Reports.