Cotton candy machines may hold the key for making life-sized artificial livers, kidneys, bones and other essential organs.
For several years, Leon Bellan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University, has been tinkering with cotton candy machines, getting them to spin out networks of tiny threads comparable in size, density and complexity to the patterns formed by capillaries – the tiny, thin-walled vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells and carry away waste. His goal has been to make fiber networks that can be used as templates to produce the capillary systems required to create full-scale artificial organs.”
In an article published online on Feb. 4 by the Advanced Healthcare Materials journal, Bellan and colleagues report that they have succeeded in using this unorthodox technique to produce a three-dimensional artificial capillary system that can keep living cells viable and functional for more than a week, which is a dramatic improvement over current methods.
“Some people in the field think this approach is a little crazy,” said Bellan, “But now we’ve shown we can use this simple technique to make microfluidic networks that mimic the three-dimensional capillary system in the human body in a cell-friendly fashion. Generally, it’s not that difficult to make two-dimensional networks, but adding the third dimension is much harder; with this approach, we can make our system as three-dimensional as we like.”
Many tissue engineering researchers, including Bellan, are currently focusing their efforts on a class of materials similar to hair gel – water-based gels, called hydrogels – and using these materials as scaffolds to support cells within three-dimensional artificial organs.
Hydrogels are attractive because their properties can be tuned to closely mimic those of the natural extracellular matrix that surrounds cells in the body. Unlike solid polymer scaffolds, hydrogels support diffusion of necessary soluble compounds; however, oxygen, nutrients and wastes can only diffuse a limited distance through the gel. As a result, cells must be very close (within the width of human hair) to a source of nutrients and oxygen and a sink for the wastes they produce, otherwise they starve or suffocate.
So, to engineer tissues that have the thickness of real organs and keep cells alive throughout the entire scaffold, the researchers must build in a network of channels that allow fluids to flow through the system, mimicking the natural capillary system.
In the bottom-up process, scientists culture cells in a thin slab of gel, and after some time they spontaneously begin creating capillaries. Although this approach has the advantage of simplicity, it has one fundamental problem: It can take weeks for the cells to create such a network. So it isn’t possible to stack the cells too high or the ones in the center begin dying off before the crucial capillary network forms.
As a result, Bellan is using a top-down approach. He reports that his cotton-candy spinning method can produce channels ranging from three to 55 microns, with a mean diameter of 35 microns. “So far the other top-down approaches have only managed to create networks with microchannels larger than 100 microns, about ten times the size of capillaries,” he said. In addition, many of these other techniques are not able to form networks as complex as the cotton candy approach.
The Latest on: Artificial organs
via Google News
The Latest on: Artificial organs
- Dr Miriam Stoppard: Coronavirus can also harm heart and kidney functionon June 27, 2020 at 6:20 am
Covid-19 is turning out to be a more complicated illness than we first thought – and not just a disease of the respiratory system and lungs. We’re also ...
- ‘Parents can look at their foetus in real time’: are artificial wombs the future?on June 27, 2020 at 3:00 am
And while CHOP grew their lambs for several weeks, often to term, and let some live, Kemp’s team kept them in the artificial womb for a week, then killed all of them to analyse their organs. He says ...
- Coronavirus updates: New US cases hit single-day record; as heat rises in places like Florida and Mexico, so do infectionson June 26, 2020 at 5:45 pm
The U.S. hit a single-day record. Texas, Florida closing bars amid surge in cases. The Trump administration is considering new approach to testing.
- Insights & Outcomes: Exosomes, a drug-coated balloon, and new info on AMOCon June 26, 2020 at 1:33 pm
Scientists have emphasized that engineering artificial nanoparticles is the best way to deliver ... The brain is a particularly difficult and complex organ to study, but it has become more accessible ...
- Artificial Organs market research report 2020 2029 also understand the impact of covid 19 situation across the globeon June 26, 2020 at 11:51 am
Artificial Organs Market Report 2020-2027 is a professional and in-depth study on the current state of the global Artificial Organs Market with a focus on the regional Market. The report provides key ...
- Watch: It’s not just the lungs: The Covid-19 virus attacks like no other ‘respiratory’ infectionon June 26, 2020 at 6:04 am
The new coronavirus enters cells through a gateway called the ACE2 receptor, which has been found in organs throughout the body.
- Insights & Forecast with Potential Impact of COVID-19 - Artificial Organs Market 2020-2024 | Increasing Prevalence of Chronic Disorders to Boost Growth | Technavioon June 24, 2020 at 5:00 pm
Technavio has been monitoring the artificial organs market and it is poised to grow by $ 11.07 bn during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of almost 9% during the forecast period. The report offers an ...
- The Global Artificial Organs Market is expected to grow by $ 11.07 bn during 2020-2024 progressing at a CAGR of 9% during the forecast periodon June 24, 2020 at 11:00 am
The analyst has been monitoring the artificial organs market and it is poised to grow by $ 11.07 bn during 2020-2024 progressing at a CAGR of 9% during the forecast period. Our reports on artificial ...
- Artificial Organ And Bionics Market by Current Industry Status, Growth Opportunities, Top Key Players, Target Audience and Forecast To 2026on June 22, 2020 at 8:05 pm
The report provides rational insights along with historical and forecast data to aid in better understanding of ...
- RSIP Vision introduces an innovative set of AI modules for enhanced medical ultrasound applicationson June 22, 2020 at 6:08 am
RSIP Vision, a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision technology, announced today a new set of AI-based ...
via Bing News