05 May 2009   |   News

Milan: Bioreactor for the generation of engineered tissue

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Scientists at Politecnico di Milano have developed a bioreactor for generating engineered cartilage and other musculoskeletal system tissues. The bioreactor can be used to generate both articular cartilage and specific structural elements such as intervertebral discs.

Whilst several artificially-produced tissues are currently available, none of them can fully replace natural tissue. The bioreactor produces tissue in controlled conditions, improving the quality and the reproducibility of the engineered product. In particular, it generates a culture environment which is very similar to the natural physiological environment in which cartilage is generated in the body.

This includes mimicking the mechanical stimuli to which cartilage is exposed in vivo. Hydrostatic pressure, shear stress and direct compression are each reproduced and applied in cyclic patterns to the engineered constructs. Moreover the mass transfer between cells and culture medium is optimised, using direct perfusion through the constructs to improve exchanges of catabolites and metabolites. Different cycles of stimulation can be automatically applied to the engineered constructs to adapt the stimuli to tissue growth.

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