Nano3D Biosciences won a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2011 to create a four-layered lung tissue from endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, fibroblasts and epithelial cells.
Glauco Souza, the company's chief scientific officer and co-founder, said the project switched into high gear when Rice bioengineering graduate student Hubert Tseng joined the research team as an intern. Tseng was already a student in Grande-Allen's lab, one of Rice's leading laboratories for tissue-engineering research.
"Hubert's and Jane's expertise in tissue engineering was invaluable for tackling this problem," Souza said.
Another collaboration that paid off big was a partnership with a group of undergraduate students at Rice's Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen. The undergraduate team, Cells in 3-D, worked on a magnetic pen that could be used to grab, move and combine magnetized 3-D cell cultures. Souza said Tseng used a version of this tool to create layered bronchiole tissues for this new study.
Tseng said the new tissue resembles native bronchiole tissue more closely than any other tissue yet created in the lab.
"We conducted a number of tests, and the tissue has the same biochemical signature as native tissue," Tseng said. "We also used primary cells rather than engineered cells, which is important for toxicological testing because primary cells provide the closest possible match to native cells."
Souza said bronchiole tissue could solve another problem that's frequently encountered in testing the toxicity of airborne agents.
"With traditional 2-D cultures, it is very difficult to cultur
|Contact: David Ruth|