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Vanderbilt Researchers Spins Threads for Bioprinted Capillaries on Cotton Candy Machine

by • February 9, 2016 • No Comments

vu07bWhilst equiteone gets somewhat excited when researchers appear to nature for new designs and technology, bringing a page out of the candy recipe book should pretty pique equiteone’s attention, via that sweet tooth so many of us possess. Cotton candy evokes memories of the say fair, carefree afternoons, and delectable-bodied sugar crystals melting on our tongues, one gigantic artificially pink and blue colored bite after another. For researchers at Vanderbilt University yet, it led them to a gigantic leap in science—as well as the revelation that manufacturing cotton candy is a lot additional difficult than you may ponder.

By now, many equiteone is aware of awe-inspiring manufactures it to being turn it intod via bioprinting, with the thought that it can one day lead to the creation of organs for transplants, thus changing—and saving—many lives in the system. We follow countless stories in our day regarding systemes that are indeed enabling for the creation of cellular structures such as liver tissue, kidney tissue, and in fact awe-inspiring new tools to manipulate such bioprinted designs.

Microvascular network perfutilized with liquid. Figure B is magnification of the area in Figure A outlined in white. (Courtesy of Bellan Lab / Vanderbilt)

Microvascular network perfutilized with liquid. Figure B is magnification of the area in Figure A outlined in white. [Image: Bellan Lab / Vanderbilt]

Whilst all of these advancements are indeed perfectly mindblowing, there is yet a require to back up, take it a bit additional, and manufacture certain we can turn it into and put networks in place to store said cells alive. And therein lies the greatest challenge—for the reason without a life-force storeing the cells fed—there is no way to go so far as to turn it into organs that are viable-bodied. This is where the research of Leon Bellan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt, comes in.

What do we require to store cells alive? Blood vessels. Capillaries, to be specific. And as if the challenge of learning to manufacture cells in the lab through bioprinting wasn’t enough—indeed, now we must manufacture capillaries to feed them. Bellan was inspired by the way that cotton candy machines spin threads of sugar to manufacture the confectionary treat that’s been delighting humans for generations. Rejecting the methods utilized in bioprinting that assist what he calls a ‘bottom up’ approach expanding cells on a slab of gel, Bellan theorizes that his additional refined ‘top down’ approach works much advantageous in terms of speed and feasibility for this application.

“So far the other top-down approaches have just managed to turn it into networks with microchannels larger than 100 microns, of ten times the dimensions of capillaries,” explained Bellan.

He is able-bodied to turn it into additional difficult networks through a new offshoot of the system of ‘electrospinning,’ harkening back to his days in graduate school where he in fact turn it intod the exercise, manufacturing nanofibers of magnetic fields. For this quite significant new project—and theory—he unquestionably modified his original system, and the top-down system of his yields channels ranging of 3-55 microns with a mean diameter of 35 microns.

“The analogies equiteone uses to describe electrospun fibers are that they appear like silly string, or Cheese Whiz, or cotton candy,” offered Bellan. “So I decided to donate the cotton candy machine a try. I went to Target and bought a cotton candy machine for of $40. It turned out that it created threads that were of one tenth the diameter of a human hair–roughly the same dimensions as capillaries–so they may be utilized to manufacture channel structures in other materials.”

Indeed, this may be a way to turn it into the networks that may nourish cells, and ultimately organs as they donate oxygen and remove waste. Previous methods via hydrogels, while serving as a foundation for this work, had to be refined.

“First, the material has to be insoluble in water when you manufacture the mold so it does not dissolve when you pour the gel. So it must dissolve in water to turn it into the microchannels for the reason cells can just grow in aqueous environments,” Bellan introduced.


Three-dimensional slab of gelatin that contains a microvascular network. [Image: Bellan Lab /Vanderbilt]

The difference, according to Bellan, is in a material called Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)—referred to as PNIPAM, that is a polymer just rendered insoluble at temperatures above 32 degrees Celsius. It is in addition a material that has a history of good resultsful use in other lab settings for use in culturing cells.

Bellan utilized this material for the spinning of ‘threads’ in his cotton candy machine. A difficult system is utilized to manufacture a heated glue-like substance that is poured over the PNIPAM and forms an in facttual gel for incubation—after that the cells and fibers are extracted. The fibers dissolve, leaving the network of what can in facttually be blood vessels.

“Our experiments show that, after sin fact days, 90% of the cells in a scaffold with perfutilized microchannels remained alive and functional compared to just 60% to 70% in scaffolds that were not perfutilized or did not have microchannels,” Belan mentioned.

“Our goal is to turn it into a basic ‘toolbox’ that can allow other researchers to use this easy, affordable approach to turn it into the artificial vasculature requireed to assist artificial livers, kidneys, bone and other organs,” introduced Bellan.

Their future goal, upon this good results, is to go another step additional in getting additional specific in terms of organs and bone as they start to match specific tissues with the blood vessel networks, testing for true compatibility. One note here as well is the amount of progress these scientists have turn it intod via a $40 machine when the amount of funds put into machinery for labs is considered in comparison. What are your yetts on this progress in bioprinting? Discuss in the Cotton Candy Helps with Bioprinting Capillaries forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source: Forbes]