RegenMed and Cell Gadgets Review – 2013 part II

by Alexey Bersenev on December 26, 2013 · 0 comments

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RegenMed and Cell Gadgets series is an overview of “smart devices”, biochips, matrices and biomaterials for research and therapy.

FEATURED PRODUCT: 3D printer – BioPlotter by EnvisionTEC
FEATURED COMPANY: VitaThreads

1. BioPen
Australian researchers developed a new device, called BioPen. The device allows to apply biomaterial with or without cells on desired site. From press release:

.. will give surgeons greater control over where the materials are deposited while also reducing the time the patient is in surgery by delivering live cells and growth factors directly to the site of injury, accelerating the regeneration of functional bone and cartilage.

One of the most important features of BioPen is attachment of ultraviolet light source:

A low powered ultra-violet light source is fixed to the device that solidifies the inks during dispensing, providing protection for the embedded cells while they are built up layer-by-layer to construct a 3D scaffold in the wound site.

It looks like this:

2. Light-guiding hydrogels
South Korean scientists invented a new system for cell-based drug delivery – light-guiding hydrogels. How does it work:

After creating hydrogels containing HeLa cells, the researchers attached a fiber optic cable, and transplanted the four-centimeter long hydrogels subcutaneously in mice. They showed in vivo that the constructs could both detect fluorescent proteins expressed by the cells and stimulate the cells using light transferred to the fiber optic cable to suppress high blood glucose levels in diabetic mice.

The study published in Nature Photonics. You can imagine in the future, every chronically ill patient can get hydrogel + engineered cells implant and do (DYI) light-controlled therapy at home.

3. Microchip to sort leukocytes from whole blood
Researchers from MIT created a new microfluidics-based chip for sorting leukocytes from whole blood at point-of-care. The technique is based on affinity flow fractionation. Device is mimicking natural ability of leukocytes to adhere to P-selectin and migration via cell rolling. The earlier prototype (presented in 2012) was able to deal only with processed blood and cell culture. Now, chip is getting more “practical” by allowing to quantify white blood cells in whole blood at point-of-care. The study published in Scientificc Reports.

4. Contact lenses seeded with stem cells
Contact lenses with cells could be used for treatment of some eye diseases. One of such condition is limbal stem cell deficiency. New study, published in Cornea, demonstrates that limbal epithelial stem cells with feeder cells can be successfully cultured, migrate and reconstitute rabbit cornea after implantation. In the future, custom-made contact lenses with cells could be manufactured and preserved for “use on demand”.

5. Cell stiffness-based sorting
A team of researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology developed a microchip for cell sorting, based on cell stiffness.

Their technology can sort cells at speeds similar to other cell sorting devices, such as a fluorescently activated cell sorter machine, which is a commonly device used in research labs.
The researchers tested four different commercially available cell lines. White blood cells sort by stiffness particularly well, the researchers reported.
The research team will now work on using their device to separate cancer cells, malaria-infected cells, and sickle cells, and to sort stem cells.

The study published in PLoS ONE.

6. Cell seeded surgical meshes
Coating and seeding of surgical materials (meshes, threads, prostetics, grafts, implants…) with viable cells is a hot field right now. New study explores the possibilities of cell delivery via surgical meshes:

Various prosthetics can be coated by certain cell strains. Both mesh composition and cell preference dramatically influence the coating process. This methodology provides foundation for novel avenues of modulation of host response to various modern synthetic and biologic meshes.

7. Microchip for ES cell feeder-separated co-culture
Chinese researcher developed a microfluidics-based chip for culture of embryonic stem cells. In this system, feeder cells are separated by a membrane, therefore there is no mixing with ES cells. You can see device here.

8. Fabrication of cardiac biowire
Biowire is integration of biomaterial, cells and electrodes for electric transmission. Integration of cardiac peacemakers in the tissue is a big problem for whole heart biofabrication. Cardiac bundle tissues could be also useful in testing of anti-arrhythmic drugs. The prototype of cardiac bioware was recently reported in Lab on a Chip:

Perfusable cardiac biowires were generated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tubing template, and were integrated with electrical field stimulation using carbon rod electrodes.
This microfabricated platform provides a unique opportunity to assess pharmacological effects on cardiac tissue in vitro by perfusion in a cardiac bundle model, which could provide improved physiological relevance.

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