Our series RegenMed and stem cell gadgets dedicated to “smart devices”, chips, matrices and biomaterials for research and therapy.
1. Introducing the concept of bio-bot
Bioengineers from U of Illinois created the first so-called “bio-bot” – biological machine powered by cells:
The team uses a 3-D printing method common in rapid prototyping to make the main body of the bot from hydrogel, a soft gelatin-like polymer.
Bashir envisions the bio-bots being used for drug screening or chemical analysis, since the bots’ motion can indicate how the cells are responding to the environment. By integrating cells that respond to certain stimuli, such as chemical gradients, the bio-bots could be used as sensors.
The study published in Sci Reports and freely available!
2. Lung-on-a-chip to model pulmonary edema
We’ve written about the concept of organ-on-chip here and here. Recently, the Wyss Institute’s team published the proof-of-concept study, which demonstrates usability of lung-on-chip for modeling of pulmonary pathology:
We provide the proof of principle for using a biomimetic microdevice that reconstitutes organ-level lung functions to create a human disease model-on-a-chip that mimics pulmonary edema. The microfluidic device, which reconstitutes the alveolar-capillary interface of the human lung, consists of channels lined by closely apposed layers of human pulmonary epithelial and endothelial cells that experience air and fluid flow, as well as cyclic mechanical strain to mimic normal breathing motions.
These studies also led to identification of potential new therapeutics…
3. Artificial niche for eye regeneration
Researchers from U of Sheffield created artificial disc for limbal cells implantation into the eye:
Using a combination of techniques known as microstereolithography and electrospinning, the researchers are able to make a disc of biodegradable material which can be fixed over the cornea.
Results of the study published in Acta Biomaterialia:
In creating artificial niches, we seek to provide a physically protective environment for limbal cells to act as a cell reservoir for tissue regeneration purposes. This study describes the first step in this challenge to produce structures which structurally approximate to the limbal niches.
4. Prototype of bioartificial vasculature
New chip, mimicking physiological conditions of blood flow in small blood vessels, was proposed:
This chip consists of an array of microfluidic channels with widths ranging from 20 to 500 micrometers. These channels are covered by suspended deformable membranes, on which cells are cultured and stimulated by cyclic circumferential strain of up to 20% via hydrodynamic actuation of the fluid in the microfluidic channels, thereby mimicking the biomechanical conditions of small blood vessels.
This microchip represents a generic and versatile platform for high-throughput and rapid screening of cellular responses, including signal transduction cascades, in response to mechanical cues.
5. New injectable biomaterials
Injectable biomaterials (scafolds/ hydrogels) can be used instead of surgery for local therapeutic cell delivery, for attraction of endogenous cells or retention exogenous cells and growth factors release.
Cryogels with shape-memory properties may be molded to a variety of shapes and sizes, and may be optionally loaded with therapeutic agents or cells.
These gels demonstrated long-term release of biomolecules in vivo. Furthermore, cryogels impregnated with bioluminescent reporter cells provided enhanced survival, higher local retention, and extended engraftment of transplanted cells at the injection site compared with a standard injection technique.
An injectable nanofibrous hydrogel scaffold integrated with growth factors (GFs) loaded polysaccharide nanoparticles was developed that specifically allows for targeted adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) encapsulation and soft tissue engineering.
6. Label-free cytometry for stem cell applications
There are few approaches to label-free cytometry. The team of researchers from U of California Berkeley utilized microfluidic device for label-free stem cell separation based on function:
Here, we describe a non-genetic, label-free cell cytometry method based on electrophysiological response to stimulus.
Our label-free cell cytometer is capable of distinguishing clusters of undifferentiated human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from iPSC-derived cardiomyocyte (iPSC-CM) clusters. The system utilizes a microfluidic device…
7. iPS cell culture device
Japanese Nipro Corp. and Kyoto U announced a new device for iPS cell culture:
The new device can culture as many cells as 75 Petri dishes can deal with and allows iPS cells and embryonic stem (ES) cells to grow to hundreds of millions in two weeks.
The price of the new device varies from 20 million yen to 30 million yen ($238,000 to $357,000) depending on the use. The device will be produced upon request from medical institutions and other organizations.
In the next year we will change the title of our series to “RegenMed and cell gadgets review”. Stay tuned!