A new nanotechnology-based paradigm for engineering vascularised liver tissue for transplantation
|Title||A new nanotechnology-based paradigm for engineering vascularised liver tissue for transplantation|
|Sponsor||European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)|
Organ transplantation is often the only life saving medical approach for several diseases, in spite of many associated problems (lack of organ donors, rejection, life-long heavy medication). The innovative therapeutic approach of the 21th century is focusing on bio-artificial organs as an alternative solution. Tissue engineering and stem cell biology have uncovered ground-breaking opportunities for cellular re-programming, i.e., some cell types can be changed into a pluripotent stem cell (PSC) by over-expressing key transcription factors. These induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) share two key characteristics with embryonic stem cells (eSC): self-renewal and pluripotency (ability to differentiate to form any cell type in the human body). Crucially, they are generated from adult cells circumventing many ethical concerns associated with using human eSC. The discovery of human iPSC (hiPSC) enables the growth of an almost unlimited supply of a patient/s own cells, potentially conferring the ability to grow and regenerate tissues and organs from self, which is expected to resolve organ rejection-related issues. Similarly, recent developments in material science and nanobiotechnology resulted in engineered materials and devices (manipulated and controlled by physical and chemical means), with unique functional or analytical properties. NanoBio4Trans will merge hiPSC-, polymer hybrid scaffolds and biosensor technologies to develop new tools (beyond state-of-the-art) for use in transplantation and biomedical research. The international, trans-sectoral, and multidisciplinary consortium with complementary and leading expertise in material sciences, cell- and molecular biology, sensor technologies, and bioanalytics, aims at developing, optimising and validating a highly vascularised in vivo-like BAL as an extracorporeal bioartificial liver (EBAL), ready to be perfused with human blood plasma, and to be exploited in modern medical technology.