Professor Mohamed Al-Rubeai, currently a UCD Professor of Biochemical Engineering and principal investigator with the Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology and UCD Conway Institute has developed an economical tissue engineering approach which could offer new possibilities for restoring damaged or lost knee cartilage tissue.
One of the most successful therapies is cell transplantation which involves removing a patient's own mature cartilage cells known as chondrocytes and growing them in vitro using tissue culture techniques. Once the cells have multiplied the patient must then undergo a second surgical procedure for implanting them into the knee. The implanted chondrocytes will then help to produce healthy cartilage.
"There are a number of new transplantation products in clinical trials that all use chondrocytes," explains Professor Al-Rubeai. "However, these cells have limitations because when they divide they lose the potential to form cartilage and the overall treatment is expensive."
Tissue engineering using stem cells
While at the University of Birmingham, Professor Al-Rubeai with collaborators in the Smith & Nephew research centre decided to turn their attention to tissue culture techniques using adult stem cells, which retain their ability to form cartilage when grown in vitro and enable the generation of large cell banks.
"Routine tissue culturing methodologies cannot cope with the scale of cell production required to create world stem cell banks for engineering knee cartilage tissue," explains Professor Al-Rubeai.
His research group has optimised the tissue culture techniques so they can grow more stem cells in vitro which have the characteristics or morphology of in vivo stem cells.
"This is the first study to factor in economics. A key objective of our work is to develop a model for the biopharmaceutical industry by generating a cell bank using an affordable technique," continues Professor Al-Rubeai. "A 17-fold expansion factor was consistently achieved and large numbers of stem cells for tissue culture engineering were obtained."
Supporting stem cells
Once the stem cells are expanded the challenge is to engineer new cartilage tissue before implantation into the knee. To do this stem cells are supported on a bioactive scaffold which shapes the cells so they will provide a better match to the in vivo environment.
Engineers at the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering are now beginning to look at biodegradable gels to make a cartilage construct. These hydrogels can help form the new cartilage tissue and once implanted the gel will biodegrade.
"Presently we are using bovine stem cells but we would like to progress to using human stem cells," concludes Professor Al-Rubeai. "Our aim now is to collaborate with clinicians so we can move this work into the clinic."
Orla Donoghue | alfa
Embryonic development: How do limbs develop from cells?
18.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Reading histone modifications, an oncoprotein is modified in return
18.05.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology