Nov. 19, 2004 Technion researchers have succeeded in building cartilage tissue outside of the human body. The researchers – Prof. Joseph Mizrahi and Dr. Dror Seliktar – built an innovative bioreactor, which creates mechanical stimulation that builds the tissue.
“The basis a polymer that serves as a scaffold within which we implant the cells,” explains Prof. Mizrahi, chairman of the Technion’s Biomedical Engineering Department. “The polymer solidifies thus enabling transfer of mechanical loads to the cells, which then begin to create protein. Eventually, this protein replaces the polymer scaffold which wears away.”
Dr. Seliktar adds that the “scaffold” is engineered to degrade away during the dynamics of the protein production. “The scaffold becomes superfluous when the protein is created,” he explains.
The research was carried out in cooperation with Dr. Jennifer Elisseeff from The Johns Hopkins University in the Baltimore, MD, who succeeded in growing fetal stem cells in goat tissue in a way that simulates bone cell development. “We want to direct the basic, primitive cell to develop into a cartilage cell or a bone cell,” explains Prof. Mizrahi. “We are researching if existing environmental conditions cause the cell to become a cartilage or bone cell.”
The Technion researchers clarify that the regenerative ability of cartilage tissue in cases of damage or wear is very limited and nearly non-existent in adults. Therefore, many people suffer from back or joint pains.
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