CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 19 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they have created a way to encapsulate living cells into cubes, arranging them into 3D structures to be assembled as artificial tissues.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Harvard Division of Health Sciences and Technology said tissue engineering has long held promise for building new organs to replace damaged livers, blood vessels and other body parts. But a major obstacle has been getting cells grown in a lab dish to form 3-D shapes instead of flat layers.
The new technique — called “micromasonary” — employs a gel-like material that acts like concrete, binding the cell “bricks” together as they harden.
Assistant Professor Ali Khademhosseini, who led the study with former HST postdoctoral associate Javier Gomez Fernandez, said some scientists have successfully built simple tissues such as skin, cartilage or bladder on biodegradable foam scaffolds. “That works, but it often lacks a controlled microarchitecture,” Khademhosseini said. “You don’t get tissues with the same complexity as normal tissues.”
The research is reported in the early online edition of the journal Advanced Materials.
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