A new tissue ‘scaffold’ technology that could enable the future engineering of large organs was developed
Scientists at the Universities of Liverpool and Bristol have combined cells with a special scaffold to produce living tissue in the laboratory. They hope that this technology will someday be used to replace patients’ ill body parts.
Due to oxygen limitation for the cells in the center, until now, they only grew small pieces of tissue, with amazing results. They succeeded providing to the cells the necessary oxygen quantities by attaching oxygen-carring proteins to the stem cells. Larger tissue pieces will require larger oxygen supplies for the cells.
Professor Anthony Hollander, Head of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Integrative Biology, declared: “We have already shown that stem cells can help create parts of the body that can be successfully transplanted into patients, but we have now found a way of making their success even better. Growing large organs remains a huge challenge but with this technology we have overcome one of the major hurdles. Creating larger pieces of cartilage gives us a possible way of repairing some of the worst damage to human joint tissue, such as the debilitating changes seen in hip or knee osteoarthritis or the severe injuries caused by major trauma, for example in road traffic accidents or war injuries.”
The team expanded the research in tissue engineering field also for other tissue such as cardiac muscle or bone. Synthetic bio-molecular systems can have major importance for developing new transplant technologies.
The new methodology opens the door for new biotechnologies. Dr Adam Perriman, from the University of Bristol, added: “From our preliminary experiments, we found that we could produce these artificial membrane binding proteins and paint the cells without affecting their biological function.”