Regenerating our bodies through developing completely new body parts or even fixing up impaired ones with only a few cells scraped from your flesh is really a exciting region of scientific research known as bioengineering. Each and every surviving cell in a organ is normally maintained through the bloodstream, which gives food and oxygen as well as passes through our circulatory system. Effective body organ bioengineering depends on creating this type of approach to blood circulation effective at attaining and aiding the vitality needs of each surviving cell.
Blood vessels are located everywhere inside us and the walls of them are usually multiple cell layers in size. These walls are made up of endothelials, smooth muscles and a few other cell types that form the needed balance. It’s not exactly easy manufacturing a naturally complex process like this. When humans are tiny embryos, we have a natural pre written program that is responsible for creating multiple kinds of gene specific cells; all from a lone stem cell know as the pluripotent cell. Each pluripotent cell contains a large number of instructions responsible for telling the other cells what to do, where to go, and how to grow. Being able to use the ability of pluripotnet stem cells to help bioengineer organs always tends to bring up certain ethical problems because for years, the only way to obtain these cells was to get them from a human embryo. Our bodies naturally have a stem cell source commonly referred to as adult stem cells. These cells go into action when our body needs to repair itself. The only issue with utilizing adult stem cells for bioengineering is they are already specialized for a particular organ. On top of that it is virtually impossible to obtain a decent size to be able to even use. There are ways around this… One common method is to increase the number of cells by growing them. The issue with this is it is a slow and expensive process that is susceptible to failure. Not to mention messing with cells like this will alter what they are normally suppose to do. So even if you do manage to get them to grow there is a chance they will just keep going and never stop.
Our biggest issue is not getting enough new, pliable stem cells to efficiently get a blood supply to a manufactured organ. One solution is to use a full grown adult cell that is able to grow very well outside of the body, and turn it back into a pluripotent cell. A research team in the United Kingdom and in China have already been developing on this very idea. It’s called a “partially induced pluripotent stem cell,” and can be used as the building block for various different kinds of cells. The best part about it is it does not have the potential of turning into a cancer. The growth is completely controlled.
The Science behind it:
It begins with a kind of cell called a fibroblast. These are cells that give structural support to every organ in the body. The researchers were able to create four parts of specific DNA instructions that bring the cells back to a younger state. When this happened the instructed cells enter a genetically liquid state where the cell could turn into anything. For example it could form fat, nerves, bone, or even blood vessels. These reset cells were monitored with how they grew and survived. None of them displayed any types of growing out of control. Eventually some of the reset cells started to form endothelial cell like structures by becoming hollow. These are the cells that make up the vessels in your blood.
Is there a possibility that these reset cells could be told to naturally develop into other things? In order to find out, the team administered a molecular liquid to the cells that was created to help them turn into a fully functional endothelial cell. Amazingly these cells formed into hearty blood vessel structures that could take on standard tasks like taking in lipoproteins. The team then slowly added these cells to a manufactured bioengineering set up, they linked up to create natural vessels that were made up of various cells types that were vascular. When the team injected these cells into the injured leg of a mouse, the reset cells attached and integrated with the muscle to improve the flow of blood and recreate the needed circulatory system to restore a O2 supply to the muscle that was damaged.
It is only a matter of time before these cells are approved to human clinical trials. We could use these cells to help keep donated organs alive while they are waiting to be transported.