Scientists from Tissue Repair and Engineering Centre at University College London (TREC) have demonstrated a novel way to grow tissues fast:
Current tissue engineering methods depend on the ability of the cultured cells themselves to grow new tissue around a cell scaffold, which is slow, expensive and has limited success. Professor Brown’s process is cell-independent, controlled engineering of scaffolds by rapidly removing fluid from hyper-hydrated collagen gels.
The fluid is removed by employing plastic compression, a process that the team found produces dense, cellular, mechanically strong collagen structures that can be controlled at nano and micro scales and which mimic biochemical processes.
Principal investigator Professor Robert Brown (UCL TREC) said: “The fluid removal dramatically shrinks the collagen by well over 100 times its original volume, which provides the ability to introduce controlled mechanical properties, and tissue-like microlayering, without cell participation. Crucially, this takes minutes instead of the conventional days and weeks without substantial harm to the embedded cells. The rapidity and biomimetic potential of the plastic compression fabrication process opens a new route for the production of biomaterials and patient-customised tissues and represents a new concept in ‘engineered’ tissues.”