New technique of tissue engineering for replacement of damaged esophagus.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet leaded by Paolo Macchiarini have developed the new technique of tissue engineering for replacement of damaged esophagus. So far the researches have tested this method only on rats.  They created the bioengineered organs by using esophagi from rats and removing all the cells. This manipulation enabled to get acellular scaffold in which the structure as well as mechanical and chemical properties of the organ are preserved. The produced scaffolds were then reseeded with cells from the bone marrow. The adhering cells have low immunogenicity which minimizes the risk of immune reaction and graft rejection and also eliminates the need for immunosuppressive drugs. The cells adhered to the biological scaffold and started to show organ-specific characteristics within three weeks. Researchers used the cultured tissues to replace segments of oesophagus in rats. All rats survived and after two weeks the researchers found indications of the major components in the regenerated graft: epithelium, muscle cells, blood vessels and nerves

The current study was conducted in collaboration with the Texas Heart Institute in the U.S., as well as universities in Italy, Russia, and Germany.

The equipment used in the study was developed by the company Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology.