The aim of this proposed programme is to conduct a multi-disciplinary research activity in order to evolve bioartificial tissues and organs, utilising the phenomena and materials from cells. Specific objectives will focus on a study of cell-energy interactions and means for copying the in-vivo environment. Specific clinically related objectives are the investigation of: a vascular replacement; haemocompatible surfaces using cell membrane mimicry; methods to achieve neuronal guidance and interfacing; biologically derived cartilage repair material.
The programme will commence by the establishment of core science and technology projects. Detailed plans and protocols will be agreed by all partners, and milestones confirmed. Cell types will be agreed, test rigs designed and constructed and methods for cell culture established. The mechanical influences imposed by cell interactions and by externally applied force fields will be studied, particularly with chondrocytes and vascular endothelial cells. The importance of the extra-cellular matrix is recognised, and the biochemical composition, as well as orientation of protein molecule chains will be investigated. Cell adhesion, motility and aggregation, and contact guidance, will be investigated in appropriate cell types. Test materials will be produced as a result of the above phase of research. This will then enable clinically related objectives to be addressed. We will develop means with which tubular structures can be produced from the co-culture of vascular endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells. The culture apparatus will allow varying shear stress to be applied, and we will determine the influences of shear stress on the characteristics of the developed structure. Using cell membrane mimicry we will develop and test phospholipid-based materials which can be used to coat blood contacting surfaces. We will concentrate particularly on intravascular sensors and vascular stents and will assess the performance of these by both animal and human tests. Using culture matrices developed above we will culture chondrocytes in order to achieve appropriate biochemical activity for the production of effective cartilage. This will be tested in vivo.
The successful completion of this programme will rely upon scientific progress, but also upon issues relating to industrial liaison and to educational and training programmes. We will actively pursue the exploitation of identified intellectual property, in part through the establishment of an industrial liaison mechanism. Tangible outputs of the programme will have significant industrial potential, and this will be of great importance to both SME's and major companies within Europe. The ongoing scientific programme in Cellular Engineering, and the resulting industrial exploitation will require a skilled workforce. Therefore a further part of the proposed programme will be to examine the specific needs for appropriate methods for training, and courses which can be delivered at higher degree levels.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
581 85 Linköping
ST4 7QB Stoke-on-trent
WC1E 6JJ London
G12 8QQ Glasgow