When the bioreactor was loaded with sTNFR-producing cells, sTNFR levels rose beyond what the animal could produce on its own, while TNF-α levels dropped, as did other markers of inflammation. The animal's blood pressure also improved, and markers of organ damage were reduced.
"This bio-hybrid device acts as a kind of inflammation thermostat," Dr. Vodovotz said. "By loading it with cells that produce different amounts of sTNFR, or other inflammatory blockers, we may soon be able to tailor our interventions to carefully balance inflammation and immune responses based on the patient's medical situation."
His team now is exploring the effectiveness of cells engineered to produce sTNFR based on the individual production of TNF-α, rather than continuously, in order to create a disease-specific response for each patient. Such a personalized medicine therapy platform could be extended based on emerging knowledge regarding the biology of inflammation.
The Vodovotz group also is creating computer models of inflammation, which could be used to engineer the next generation of this device. The portability of the device could be particularly useful on the battlefield, where early intervention to control systemic inflammation after injury might improve the chances of survival.
|Contact: Anita Srikameswaran|
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences