Cambridge, MA (PRWEB) July 16, 2013
Damaged organs could be repaired in the near future with devices enabled by a manufacturing technique used today for components in mobile phones and other consumer electronics. Researchers at Draper Laboratory and MIT demonstrated a prototype device using this approach under contract to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The long term goal for the research is to develop implantable, fully functioning artificial tissues and organs.
In an early view article published online by Advanced Materials, Lisa E. Freed, the principal investigator for the project at Draper Laboratory and MIT, and Martin E. Kolewe, a post doctoral associate at MIT, adapted a semi-automated layer-by-layer assembly method commonly used to build integrated circuits in the electronics packaging industry to instead stack porous, flexible, biodegradable elastomer sheets to form three dimensional (3-D) scaffolds on which tissues can be grown. The breakthrough allows researchers to build controlled 3-D pore networks that guide cells to grow in precise patterns, as is seen in highly specialized tissues like heart and skeletal muscle.
Cells in a human heart rely on a variety of spatial and chemical cues to form the hierarchical organization that results in a complete and functional organ. “Function follows form, especially when we try to create artificial tissue,” Kolewe said, explaining that the researchers first identified key structural cues that could guide specific cell growth patterns, and then replicated these cues in their scaffolds to grow specific tissue architectures. The researchers were able to grow contractile heart tissue from rat heart cells using their 3-D scaffolds.
Before this work, researchers intent on growing human tissues lacked the ability to precisely contro
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