Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanotech strategy could create new organs

09.07.2003


Scientists from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a strategy that could one day be used to create functional human organs such as kidneys and livers. They present their research today at the American Society for Microbiology’s conference on Bio- Micro- Nano-systems.



The technique involves creating a network of microscopic tubes that branch out in a pattern, similar to that seen in the circulatory system, to provide oxygen and nutrients to liver or kidney cells that have been cultured in a lab. Using new fractal computational models, the network is designed and etched onto silicon surfaces which are then used as molds to transfer the pattern to biocompatible polymer films. Two films are then sealed together with a microporous membrane sandwiched between them.

"These technologies create a precise architectural framework for the liver or kidney cells that are responsible for the functional replacement of the vital organs," says Mohammad Kaazempur-Mofrad of MIT’s department of mechanical engineering and division of biological engineering, lead researcher on the study, whose lab is in charge of designing the networks. Jeffrey Borenstein at Draper Laboratory oversees the microfabrication and polymer processing and the principle director of the entire project is Joseph Vacanti of Massachusetts General Hospital.


Conventional tissue engineering methods have been successful in the creation of new tissues including skin and cartilage, but have failed to create large, functional vital organs such as the kidneys and liver. The reason for this, says Kaazempur-Mofrad, is that while they provide a structural support for the cells of the tissue being created, they fail to provide vascular support (in the form of blood vessels to bring oxygen and nutrients) at the level necessary to maintain the cells of these vital organs. This new process addresses that need.

"Our microfabricated devices can efficiently supply oxygen and nutrients to sustain the viability of human liver and kidney cells for at least one week in the lab," says Kaazempur-Mofrad. Experiments showed that 96% of kidney cells survived for one week and 95% of liver cells survived for two weeks.

They also implanted an experimental liver device into rats which lasted a week. The device was only a single layer (researchers expect it could take from 30 to 50 layers to represent a fully functioning liver) so it did not replace the existing liver. Kaazempur-Mofrad and his colleagues plan investigate if this approach works in higher level animals next.

"So far we have succeeded in making individual, functioning units but the ultimate goal is to make whole, functional organs," says Kaazempur-Mofrad.


The ASM Conference on Bio-, Micro-, Nanosystems, held in collaboration with the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society on July 7-10, 2003 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, is intended to provide an interdisciplinary forum for microbiologists and engineers to explore ways in which microbiology can contribute to the growing field of nanotechnology. For further information on the meeting contact Jim Sliwa.

Jim Sliwa | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asmusa.org/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>