RegenMed and Cell Gadgets series is an overview of “smart devices”, biochips, matrices and biomaterials for research and therapy.
1. Bioinspired light-activated surgical glue
French stratup Gecko Biomedical is developing surgical adhesive to repair cardiovascular defects. Results of experimental study, assessing new adhesive in blood vessel and cardiac defects, were recently published:
We describe the engineering of a bioinspired elastic and biocompatible hydrophobic light-activated adhesive (HLAA) that achieves a strong level of adhesion to wet tissue and is not compromised by preexposure to blood. The HLAA provided an on-demand hemostatic seal, within seconds of light application, when applied to high-pressure large blood vessels and cardiac wall defects in pigs.
2. Heart cells to power moving bio-bot
Biongineers from the University of Illinois created moving bio-bot, powered by contracting heart cells:
Saif and his colleagues began by creating the body of this bio-bot using a flexible polymer, and then they cultured heart cells near the junction of its head and tail. Those cells self-aligned and synchronized to beat together, sending a wave down the machines’ tails and propelling them forward, they explained.
According to the university, this self-organization is “a remarkable emergent phenomenon” and while they do not fully understand exactly how the cells on the flexible polymer tail are able to communicate with one-another, they have to beat together in the correct direction in order for movement to occur in the tail.
Study published in Nature Communications.
3. Biodegradable scaffold for therapeutic siRNA delivery
Researchers from Vanderbilt University created a scaffold, carrying siRNA for stimulation of angiogenesis:
…Duvall and colleagues reported the use of a novel tissue scaffold that can deliver siRNA to nearby cells over a period of several weeks.
The study published in Advanced Materials:
Therapeutic application of this approach to silence PHD2 promotes expression of pro-angiogenic genes controlled by HIF1α and enhanced scaffold vascularization in vivo. This technology provides a new standard for efficient and controllable gene silencing to modulate host response within regenerative biomaterials.
4. Microparticles to block harmful effects of immune system
Researches generated immune-modifying microparticles (IMPs) to block monocyte trafficking to inflammation sites. This approach can be used in many diseases by limiting tissue damage and stimulation of regeneration:
… these monocytes no longer trafficked to sites of inflammation; rather, IMP infusion caused their sequestration in the spleen through apoptotic cell clearance mechanisms and, ultimately, caspase-3–mediated apoptosis. Administration of IMPs in mouse models of myocardial infarction, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, dextran sodium sulfate–induced colitis, thioglycollate-induced peritonitis, and lethal flavivirus encephalitis markedly reduced monocyte accumulation at inflammatory foci, reduced disease symptoms, and promoted tissue repair.
IMPs are commercialized by Cour Pharmaceutical Development
The stem cell pump is implanted in the patient’s abdomen and has a silicone septum which allows re-loading via a micro needle syringe of stem cells, genes, growth factors and nutrient hydrogels. The pump is attached to a combination coaxial reinforced infusion catheter and electrical conduction lead which has its tip anchored into the patient’s damaged heart tissue.
The living cells could be encased in gel, which means the robot could someday engineer living tissue, which could be used to create an organ that could be transplanted into a human. The researchers used the bot to assemble three to four gel cubes at a time that contained mouse cells. After four days, they observed that the cells had survived and proliferated.
7. Bioartificial liver modular device for toxicology
German researchers were able to create scalable bioartificial device, which maintains hepatocyte function for up to 90 days:
We have overcome these challenges by using integrated nanostructured self-assembling peptides and a special combination of growth factors and cytokines to establish a proof of concept to mimic the in vivo hepatocyte microenvironment pattern in vitro for predicting the in vivo drug hepatotoxicity in a scalable bioartificial liver module. Hepatocyte functionality (albumin, urea) was measured at days 10, 30, 60, and 90 and we observed stable albumin secretion and urea function throughout the culture period.
One more potential player on competitive market for in vitro liver toxicity assays!
8. Nanopatterned cell patches
Interesting new approach to cell therapy was recently described in Biomaterials:
Here, we present a simple method in which biodegradable, biomimetic substrates with precisely controlled nanotopography were fabricated using solvent-assisted capillary force lithography (CFL) and were able to induce the proper development and differentiation of primary mononucleated cells to form mature muscle patches.
The authors gene-modified these muscle cells and demonstrated that engineered patches could be therapeutically useful in Duchenne muscular dystrophy model.
9. New kidney-on-chip device
Was recently described by Italian researchers in PLoS ONE:
For the first time, a population of tubular adult renal stem/progenitor cells (ARPCs) was embedded into a microsystem to create a bioengineered renal tubule…
The microengineered biochip here-proposed might be an innovative “lab-on-a-chip” platform to investigate in vitro ARPCs behaviour or to test drugs for therapeutic and toxicological responses.