New Research


Development of 3D tissues using hydrogels as templating materials

Professor: Masahito Taya, Associate Professor: Shinji Sakai, Assistant Professor: Yoshihiro Ojima

   One hopeful approach for treating patients with lost or damaged tissues/organs is the transplantation of artificial tissues to replace their functions. The majority of the reported artificial tissues developed in vitro have the common features of being quite thin or being constructed from cells with a low oxygen demand, because the oxygen supply to the cells in the constructs is exclusively dependent on diffusion from the ambient environment. The absence of vascular-like networks necessary for oxygenation and nutrition to the cells in the constructs is a major limiting factor in developing dense artificial tissues. Considering the oxygen consumption rate by individual cells and the oxygen diffusion rate from the surroundings, the maximum allowable size of the spherical tissues with a tightly packed cell mass that does not limit the oxygen supply is less than 0.5 mm in diameter. These clearly mean the necessity of developing the method of fabricating tissues containing the vascular-like networks which permit medium flow for constructing dense 3D tissues in vitro.

   Our approach for constructing the dense 3D tissues is based on assembling the tissues small enough to realize sufficient oxygenation and nutrition. These small tissues are prepared by using hydrogels with a variety of shapes as templating materials. For example, we can prepare vascular-like tissues using hydrogel fibers.

   Ongoing other projects: production of biochemical and biofuels using microorganisms and enzymes, development of biomaterials for wound healing, development of bio-devices for anti-cancer drug screening, etc.

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