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Cell-building discovery could reduce need for some animal research
Date:2/2/2009

in September 2007 in the journal Tissue Engineering. The earlier study highlighted the invention of a 3-D Petri dish about the size of a peanut-butter cup and made of agarose, a complex carbohydrate derived from seaweed with the consistency of Jell-O. Morgan and students in his lab developed the dish, creating a product where cells do not stick to the surface. Instead, the cells self-assemble naturally and form "microtissues."

For the new research, Morgan, with students including Adam Rago and Dylan Dean, made 3-D microtissues in one 3-D Petri dish, harvested these living building blocks and then added them to more complex 3-D molds shaped either like a honeycomb, with holes, or a donut with a hole in the middle.

Those skin cells fused with liver cells in the more complex molds and formed even larger microstructures. Researchers found that the molds helped control the shape of the final microtissue.

They also found that they could control the rate of fusion of the cells by aging them for a longer or shorter time before they were harvested. The longer the wait, Morgan found, the slower the process.

Rago has since graduated from Brown, and Dean, an M.D.-Ph.D. student, has moved on from the Morgan lab to pursue his surgical rotations.


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Contact: Mark Hollmer
Mark_Hollmer@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

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