The technique, an advance over flat, two-dimensional screening methods, enables rapid assessment of the biocompatibility and other properties of materials designed for repairing—or even rebuilding—damaged tissues and organs.
In what may be a first, the team demonstrated how to screen cell–material interactions in a biologically representative, but systematically altered, 3-D environment. The pivotal step in the experiment was the collaborators’ success in making so-called libraries of miniature porous scaffolds that are bone-like in structure but vary incrementally in chemical composition. Knowing how changes in scaffold ingredients influence cell responses, researchers can devise strategies for developing biomaterials optimized for particular therapies and treatments.
Until now, attempts to accelerate screening of candidate biomaterials have used flat films and surfaces. (See, for example, “Designer Gradients Speed Surface Science Experiments,” Tech Beat June 8, 2006. http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/techbeat/tb2006_0608.htm#designer ) Along with other shortcomings, these two-dimensional substrates are neither consistent with cells’ normal 3-D environment inside the body nor with the most common intended use of biomaterials: creating scaffolds to encourage the growth of cells into functional 3-D tissues and organs.
“Cells are very sensitive to the texture, shapes, and other three-dimensional features of their local environment inside the body,” explains NIST biomaterial scientist Carl Simon. “The large difference in structure between 2-D films and 3-D scaffolds should be considered when screening new materials.”
On a series of plates, each about the size of a dollar bill and arrayed with 96 scaffolds the size of pencil erasers, the researchers conducted the equivalent of 672 individual tests. In all, the tests yielded data for eight separate but related investigations, each one using libraries of 36 incrementally varying scaffolds and 12 controls. On each plate, tests were performed concurrently.
The six cell-culture investigations and two studies of scaffold structure were completed in six days, as compared with 24 days for the traditional method of preparing and testing each sample individually.
In the cell culture experiments, the team analyzed how variations in the chemical makeup of the tiny scaffolds affected the ability of bone-building cells called osteoblasts to multiply and to adhere to scaffolds. The scaffold libraries were made by blending varying proportions of two different compounds prepared at Rutgers based on the amino acid tyrosine, which is a component of proteins found in hair, skin, and other parts of the body.
The project yielded a unique data set, where two materials have been tested side by side in both 2-D and 3-D. In this case, results with 2-D films were predictive of the trends observed with 3-D scaffolds. Further work is required to determine if this will hold true for other cell-material systems.
Mark Bello | EurekAlert!
Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions
29.03.2017 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Nanomaterial makes laser light more applicable
28.03.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
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