|Student in the Bellan Lab using a commercial cotton candy machine to spin hydrogel fibers.[Photo by Joe Howell / Vanderbilt]|
A humble cotton candy machine is about to revolutionize the field of tissue engineering and build artificial organs, paving the way forward for organ transplantation, research suggests.
Leon Bellan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University in Tennesse, has developed a process using cotton candy machines, to spin out networks of tiny threads comparable to capillaries. His goal is to eventually build fiber networks that can be used as templates to create full-scale artificial organs. His work, along with that of his colleagues, was published in an article by the Advanced Healthcare Materials journal.
“Some people in the field think this approach is a little crazy. But now we’ve shown we can use this simple technique to make microfluidic networks that mimic the three-dimensional capillary system in the human body in a cell-friendly fashion. Generally, it’s not that difficult to make two-dimensional networks, but adding the third dimension is much harder; with this approach, we can make our system as three-dimensional as we like.” Continue reading