Synthetic Organ and Tissue Creation

Current News Items for 2013

Synthetic kidneys made from skin cells a realistic possibility
Steve Connor
18th Apr 2013

A SYNTHETIC kidney made from a patient's own skin cells might soon be ready for the first human transplant following the creation of a similar artificial organ in laboratory animals, scientists said on Sunday.

Researchers created the synthetic kidney using a similar bioengineering process to the one that led to the manufacture of artificial human windpipes, the first of which was transplanted into a Spanish woman with a collapsed trachea in 2008.

The bioengineered rat kidney was made from the scaffold tissue of a dead rat's kidney that had its own cells removed by flushing it with an enzymatic detergent.

Skin and blood cells were then infused into the scaffold to create a working organ, scientists said.

Harald Ott of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said that his colleagues have also created synthetic pig and human kidneys and that a human transplant of a bioengineered kidney made from a patient's own cells is a realistic possibility.

Such organs would not require immunosuppressing drugs because the tissue comes from the same patient receiving the transplant, Dr Ott said.

"What is unique about this approach is that the native organ's architecture is preserved, so that the resulting graft can be transplanted just like a donor kidney and connected to the recipient's vascular [blood] and urinary systems," Dr Ott said.

"If this technology can be scaled to human-sized grafts, patients suffering from renal failure who are currently waiting for donor kidneys or who are not transplant candidates could theoretically receive new organs derived from their own cells," he said.

Although there were a record 674 kidney transplants in the UK last year from donors who had died, and a further 1,009 transplants from living donors, there is still an acute shortage of kidneys.

There are between two and four times as many patients awaiting transplants each year as there are donors.

Dr Ott and his colleagues created the kidneys by washing away the cells of organs taken from dead animals using a detergent that kept the organ's connective tissue intact.

He took cells from a rat foetus to make the blood vessels and the specialized filtration cells of the kidney.

A study in the journal Nature Medicine showed that the artificial organ was able to filter blood to produce urine, both externally and when transplanted inside a recipient rat.

However, Dr Ott said that it did not function as well as a normal, healthy organ, possibly because the donor cells came from an immature animal.

"Further refinement of the cell types used for seeding and additional maturation in culture may allow us to achieve a more functional organ.

Based on this initial proof of principle, we hope that bioengineered kidneys will someday be able to fully replace kidney function just as donor kidneys do," Dr Ott said.

"In an ideal world, such grafts could be produced on demand from a patient's own cells, helping us overcome both the organ shortage and the need for chronic immunosuppression."

The kidneys were created by washing away the cells of organs taken from dead animals.

http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/synthetic-kidneys-made-skin-cells-realistic-possib/1833302/

Pioneering scientists grow rat's kidney in lab - and hope it will lead to breakthrough for human organ transplants
STEVE CONNOR
SUNDAY 14 APRIL 2013

A synthetic kidney made from a patient’s own skin cells might soon be ready for the first human transplant following the creation of a similar artificial organ in laboratory animals, scientists said today.

Researchers created the synthetic kidney using a similar bioengineering process to the one that led to the manufacture of artificial human windpipes, the first of which was transplanted into a Spanish woman with a collapsed trachea in 2008.

The bioengineered rat kidney was made from the scaffold tissue of a dead rat’s kidney that had its own cells removed by flushing it with an enzymatic detergent. Skin and blood cells were then infused into the scaffold to create a working organ, scientists said.

Harald Ott of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said that his colleagues have also created synthetic pig and human kidneys and that a human transplant of a bioengineered kidney made from a patient’s own cells is a realistic possibility. Such organs would not require immunosuppressing drugs because the tissue comes from the same patient receiving the transplant, Dr Ott said.

“What is unique about this approach is that the native organ’s architecture is preserved, so that the resulting graft can be transplanted just like a donor kidney and connected to the recipient’s vascular [blood] and urinary systems,” Dr Ott said.

“If this technology can be scaled to human-sized grafts, patients suffering from renal failure who are currently waiting for donor kidneys or who are not transplant candidates could theoretically receive new organs derived from their own cells,” he said.

Although there were a record 674 kidney transplants in the UK last year from donors who had died, and a further 1,009 transplants from living donors, there is still an acute shortage of kidneys. There are between two and four times as many patients awaiting transplants each year as there are donors.

Dr Ott and his colleagues created the kidneys by washing away the cells of organs taken from dead animals using a detergent that kept the organ’s connective tissue intact. He took cells from a rat foetus to make the blood vessels and the specialized filtration cells of the kidney.

A study in the journal Nature Medicine showed that the artificial organ was able to filter blood to produce urine, both externally and when transplanted inside a recipient rat. However, Dr Ott said that it did not function as well as a normal, healthy organ, possibly because the donor cells came from an immature animal.

“Further refinement of the cell types used for seeding and additional maturation in culture may allow us to achieve a more functional organ. Based on this initial proof of principle, we hope that bioengineered kidneys will someday be able to fully replace kidney function just as donor kidneys do,” Dr Ott said. “In an ideal world, such grafts could be produced on demand from a patient’s own cells, helping us overcome both the organ shortage and the need for chronic immunosuppression.”

We will 'grow' all organs to order in future, says pioneering surgeon
JEREMY LAURANCE
FRIDAY 09 MARCH 2012

Doctor who gave woman world's first lab-made body part predicts more breakthroughs to come

Patients might one day be able to grow their own organs to replace diseased or damaged body parts – offering a potential solution to the global donor shortage crisis – one of the world's leading transplant surgeons says today.

Professor Paolo Macchiarini, who pioneered the first transplant of a whole organ grown from a patient's own cells four years ago, said the technology of regenerative medicine had advanced to the point where it was possible to contemplate transplants with no human donors, no problems of rejection and no need for lifelong treatment with immuno-suppressive drugs.

The new technique involves the creation of an artificial "scaffold" – which could in future be made from animal organs that have been stripped of their living cells – into which the patients own stem cells are inserted. The cells then grow to create a fully functioning organ ready for transplant.

"Such an approach has already been used successfully for the repair and reconstruction of complex tissues such as the trachea, oesophagus, and skeletal muscle in animal models and human beings," Professor Macchiarini said.

"Guided by appropriate scientific and ethical oversight, [this] could serve as a platform for the engineering of whole organs and other tissues, and might become a viable and practical future therapeutic approach to meet demand after organ failure," he added. Although such predictions have been made before, they have been given added impetus by Professor Macchiarini's own work. In 2008, he and his team transplanted a trachea into a 30-year-old woman in Barcelona grown from her own cells. Claudia Castillo had contracted TB which had damaged her windpipe and left her unable to breathe.

In her case the trachea was taken from a donor, stripped of all its living cells and reseeded with cells taken from Ms Castillo's bone marrow before being grown in a "bioreactor".

In a second operation carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, in 2010, a British team assisted by Professor Macchiarini performed a similar operation on a 10-year-old boy, who had been born with a narrow windpipe. In his case the donor trachea was transplanted into his chest as soon as it had been reseeded with stem cells taken from his bone marrow, using his own body as the bioreactor.

The organ donor crisis is intensifying around the world as demand from ageing populations for replacement body parts rises but the supply of donors is failing to keep pace. In the UK, 3,740 transplants were carried out in the year to March 2011, but 7,587 patients are on the waiting list.

Writing in The Lancet, Professor Macchiarini, now based at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues say that the artificial "scaffolds" necessary for the transplants could in future be obtained from animals, removing the need for human donors. As their living cells would be stripped away, before being repopulated with the patient's own cells, there would be no problem of rejection.

The trachea, composed of cartilage, is a relatively simple organ. Growing lungs, livers or kidneys will pose a much greater challenge, but progress has been made. Several research groups have taken lungs from mice, stripped them of their respiratory cells leaving the "scaffold" of bronchioles and blood vessels, and then repopulated them with rat cells and transplanted the re-grown tissue into rats. The transplanted tissue functioned for a few hours like a lung, absorbing oxygen from the air.

Professor Macchiarini warns that many hurdles – technical, financial and ethical – lie ahead. "The pressure to advance this technique, driven by demand, the race for prestige, and the potential for huge profits, mandates an early commitment be made to establish the safety of various strategies... particularly when there are so many potential patients and doctors who are desperate for any remedy that offers hope."

Vein grown using girl's stem cells
John von Radowitz
Thursday 14 June 2012

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A 10-year-old girl has been given a vein transplant using a blood vessel grown from her own stem cells.

It is the first time such an operation has been undertaken, marking a milestone in tissue engineering.

Similar techniques may in future offer hope for at-risk patients undergoing bypass surgery.

The girl had a blocked hepatic portal vein, which drains blood from the gut and spleen to the liver.

Without treatment, the condition can lead to serious complications including internal bleeding, spleen enlargement and even death.

Traditionally bypass surgery has been used to restore portal blood flow, using sections of vein taken from other parts of the body. This can cause other problems and is not always successful.

The new technique involved growing a new section of portal vein from the girl's own bone marrow stem cells.

First, a nine centimetre segment of groin vein was taken from a deceased donor and stripped of cellular tissue, leaving a tubular protein "scaffold".

Maturing stem cells were "seeded" into the scaffold, which two weeks later was implanted into the girl's body.

Normal blood flow was restored, but after a year the graft had to be lengthened with another piece of vein made from stem cells.

The girl has remained well since and even managed to take part in gymnastics, the Swedish team reported in the latest online edition of The Lancet medical journal.

The researchers, led Professor Suchitra Sumitran-Holdgersson, from the University of Gothenburg, wrote: "The new stem cells-derived graft resulted not only in good blood flow rates and normal laboratory test values but also in strikingly improved quality of life for the patient."

Because the graft was built from the girl's own cells, it was accepted by her immune system.

Two British experts commenting in The Lancet said the technique looked promising but was yet to be properly tested in clinical trials.

Professor Martin Birchall and Professor George Hamilton, both from University College London, wrote: "The young girl in this report was spared the trauma of having veins harvested from the deep neck or leg, with the associated risk of lower limb disorders, and avoided the need for a liver or multivisceral transplantation."

However they pointed out that the high cost of such procedures might be an obstacle to making them more widely available.

Scientists Develop 3D Printer That Can Create Synthetic Tissue
Your Universe Online
April 5, 2013



Image Caption: A custom-built programmable 3D printer can create materials with several of the properties of living tissues, Oxford University scientists have demonstrated: Droplet network c.500 microns across with electrically conductive pathway between electrodes mimicking nerve. Credit: Oxford University/G Villar

WATCH VIDEO: [Synthetic Tissue Built With 3D Printer] Scientists reported in the journal Science that they have developed a 3-D printer that can create materials with several of the properties of living tissues.

The new type of 3-D printing material consists of thousands of connected water droplets within lipid films, which can perform some of the functions of the cells inside our bodies. It could become the building blocks of a new kind of technology for delivering drugs to places where they are needed and potentially could replace damaged human tissues.

“We aren’t trying to make materials that faithfully resemble tissues but rather structures that can carry out the functions of tissues,” said Professor Hagan Bayley of Oxford University‘s Department of Chemistry, who led the research. “We’ve shown that it is possible to create networks of tens of thousands connected droplets [sic]. The droplets can be printed with protein pores to form pathways through the network that mimic nerves and are able to transmit electrical signals from one side of a network to the other.”

Each of the droplets are contained in a compartment about 50 microns in diameter, which is about five times larger than living cells. The team believes the droplets could be made smaller.

“Conventional 3-D printers aren’t up to the job of creating these droplet networks, so we custom built one in our Oxford lab to do it,” said Professor Bayley. “At the moment we’ve created networks of up to 35,000 droplets but the size of network we can make is really only limited by time and money. For our experiments we used two different types of droplet, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t use 50 or more different kinds.”

The droplet networks can be designed to fold themselves into different shapes after printing, which could be set up to resemble muscle movement.

“We have created a scalable way of producing a new type of soft material. The printed structures could in principle employ much of the biological machinery that enables the sophisticated behavior of living cells and tissues,” said Gabriel Villar, who is the lead author of the paper and builder of the 3-D printer.

More research is looking into 3-D printing technology, including one group that wants to use it to help recycle. A team from Michigan Technological University’s (MTU) is working on a device that takes trash like plastic milk jugs and turns them into 3-D printing material.

“Open-source 3-D printers have created enormous price competition for rapid prototyping businesses,” Joshua Pearce, a researcher on the project, told redOrbit. “Now for a few hundred dollars you can have a 3-D printer in your living room that spits out products of higher quality than what $20,000 purchased in commercial rapid prototypers even a few years ago. Costs are still dropping as printing quality improves. I am fairly confident that we are well on our way to having a 3-D printer in every home creating a real distributed and localized digital manufacturing infrastructure.”

With 3D printing material made out of both recycled material and living tissues, it is only a matter of time before these devices begin to shape our future.

Source: Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online