Researchers at MIT and the University of Pennsylvania successfully grew blood vessels within liver tissue grown in the lab. The red circle is a cross-section of the vessel; endothelial cells (red) sprout from the surface of the tube. (Credit: Jordan S. Miller et al./Nature Materials)

Tissue engineering at MIT:
where it’s going

Modeling human disease, testing potential new drugs are hot research areas at MIT
December 18, 2012

Tissue engineering research at MIT is now largely focused on creating tissue that can be used in the lab to model human disease and test potential new drugs.

MIT professor Sangeeta Bhatia recently developed the first stem-cell-derived liver tissue model that can be infected with the hepatitis C virus. She has also designed thin slices of human liver tissue that can be implanted in mice, enabling rapid studies of potential drugs.

Like other human tissues, liver is difficult to grow outside the human body because cells tend to lose their function when they lose contact with neighboring cells. “The challenge is to grow the cells outside the body while maintaining their function after being removed from their usual microenvironment,” says Bhatia, the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Read more: Tissue engineering at MIT: where it’s going | KurzweilAI.

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