Lab Canada

New tissue engineering tool invented at UofT

Toronto, ON – A new device that may allow for the uniform, large-scale engineering of tissue has been developed at the University of Toronto.

Scientists manipulate biomaterials into the micro-device through several channels. The biomaterials are then mixed, causing a chemical reaction that forms a “mosaic hydrogel” —a sheet-like substance compatible with the growth of cells into living tissues, into which different types of cells can be seeded in very precise and controlled placements.

Unique to this new approach to tissue engineering, however, and unlike more typical methods (for instance, scaffolding: the seeding of cells onto an artificial structure capable of supporting three-dimensional tissue formation), cells planted onto the mosaic hydrogel sheets are precisely incorporated into the mosaic hydrogel sheet just at the time it’s being created—generating the perfect conditions for cells to grow.

Researchers Axel Guenther, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, cross-appointed to the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME), and Milica Radisic, associate professor at IBBME and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, made this discovery along with graduate students from their labs—Lian Leng, Boyang Zhang, and Arianna McAllister.

Presented in the journal Advanced Materials, it is currently being commercialized by MaRS Innovations in collaboration with the Innovations and Partnerships Office (IPO) of the University of Toronto, where Radisic and Guenther’s labs have filed two patents on the device.