Oxford scientists learn how to grow living tissue in a robotic skeleton

(ORDO NEWS) — The science of growing living human tissue for medical use is still in its infancy, with only the most primitive specimens being used for experimental treatment.

However, research does not stand still – scientists from Oxford said that a new method of cultivating human tissues will allow them to be combined with robotic moving skeletons.

Typically, cells for regenerative medicine are grown in static environments such as petri dishes or miniature 3D scaffolds.

Some experiments in the past have already shown that cells can be cultured on structures that move like hinges, but in this case, the stretching and/or bending of the tissues occurs in only one direction.

New development of scientists

Oxford University researchers and robot developer Devanthro suggested that to create a replacement for real damaged tissue, it should be grown in conditions close to those in which real muscles “work”, deforming in all directions.

An interdisciplinary development team set out to replicate the musculoskeletal system as accurately as possible using a robotic skeleton.

As a result, they used a mock skeleton designed by Devanthro engineers, combined with a cell culture medium. It can be integrated into the artificial bone structure and stretch/bend in any direction.

Oxford scientists learn how to grow living tissue in a robotic skeleton 1
Living tissue in a robotic skeleton

In this case, we are talking about working with the shoulder joint. In the structure of the artificial shoulder, it was supposed to introduce a spherical outer membrane with biodegradable fibers stretched between the “anchor points” – a bioreactor.

The fibers were “originated” with human cells, and the chamber was filled with a nutrient-rich solution. For two weeks, the cells grew in a nutrient medium, which experienced daily “loads” – for 30 minutes daily, the bioreactor was placed in the shoulder structure for loads and deformations.

Although the scientists were able to note the changes in the “training” cells compared to the control samples, it is not yet known whether this will be of any benefit. According to scientists, they simply demonstrate the possibility.

In other words, the team has demonstrated that it is possible to grow cells in a robotic skeleton structure, and now they need to determine whether their efforts are worth the resources spent.

However, the researchers are optimistic and suggest that in the future, thanks to detailed scanning of patients, it will be possible to create replicas of the human skeletal system, which will allow them to form optimal replacement tissues for them, for example, damaged tendons.


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