Microgel embedded with blood vessel-generating cells enables vessel development
Just like we rely on a support network at home as we grow up, our cells need the physical structures and neighbouring cells around them to develop properly. In the lab, this environment can be hard to replicate for scientists aiming to engineer new healthy tissue that could be used to repair injury and treat disease. A new approach uses tiny gel drops formed of short self-assembling protein fragments which gather into a supportive network that can provide growing cells with a suitable foster home (pictured). Researchers embedded blood vessel lining cells on the gel beads and placed these in a larger structure. The cells began to form into blood vessels – a common challenge in tissue engineering – showing that the system safely delivered cells, and pointing to the ultimate goal of encouraging vessel growth in regenerative therapies for everything from long term wounds to diabetic ulcers.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.