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Biotech Science

Artificial Blood Vessels Grow On Nano-Template 49

Posted by kdawson
from the hemo-the-magnificent dept.
Invisible Pink Unicorn writes "Researchers at MIT have found a way to induce cells to form parallel tube-like structures that could one day lead to tiny engineered blood vessels. The researchers found that they can control the cells' development by growing them on a surface with nano-scale patterning. The work focuses on vascular tissue, which includes capillaries, the tiniest blood vessels. The team has created a surface that can serve as a template to grow capillary tubes aligned in a specific direction. The cells, known as endothelial progenitor cells, not only elongate in the direction of the grooves, but also align themselves along the grooves. That results in a multicellular structure with defined edges — a band structure. Once the band structures form, the researchers apply a commonly used gel that induces cells to form three-dimensional tubes."
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Artificial Blood Vessels Grow On Nano-Template

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  • I wonder how long until we see the creation of nanobots that can actually repair tissue (or construct new sections of it) at the cellular level using the raw materials around them (maybe via introduction of non-toxic "feeder compounds" into the bloodstream).

  • by raving griff (1157645) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @07:35PM (#21746004)
    ...towards the creation of biological prosthetics. Master the creation of several types of tissues and we may be able to apply the knowledge to the creation of new arms, legs, and hearts without the time it takes for stem cells to mature into the said appenditures. Additionally, this could lead to new, artificial biological enhancements, such as eyes on the back of our heads, larger, more complex brains, or more articulate toes.
  • by asCii88 (1017788) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @08:40PM (#21746608) Homepage
    Fucking TROLL, why do you do that?
  • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @08:52PM (#21746720) Journal
    You know, the funny thing is: the body if anything above the simplest creatures is built to self-tune. The cells have the proteins, and the DNA coding them of course, to (A) give a chemical signals along the lines of, "oi! I need more X down here!", and (B) react to that signal, if apropriate.

    So for example, you're not hard-coded to have X millimeter thick muscles, or a certain bone density, or exactly this pattern of capillaries. You're built to react to how much do you need. So if you regularly pull/push at heavy weights, you get to look like Rambo, and if you sit at a computer like most of us here, you get to have just enough muscle to be able to walk.

    (And if you feel a need to post something like, "well, I'm a nerd and exercise daily, and look like Rambo, and fuck a super-model", then consider yourself smacked upside your head. I didn't say _everyone_ was like that, did I?;)

    This is out of very pragmatical reasons too. If your particular genetic mutations or diet make you heavier, you get to survive by adapting to it. Otherwise any mutation that changed your metabolism, would be _fatal_, if it didn't come together with a mutation that changes your muscle mass. Which is a hell of a lot less probable a coincidence. A gene set that self-regulates is more robust and survivable.

    Anyway, what I'm getting at, is that the same applies to capillaries. Cells that lack oxygen give a chemical signal that tells other cells, basically, "Jesus F. Christ, guys, I'm choking in here!" So some other cells' proteins will take that as a hint to fork an existing blood vessel to cater to that group of cells.

    (Side-note: I'm talking about proteins because, basically, that's the active molecule in your body. Proteins are a standardized way to build molecules which interact with other molecules. You have a small number of aminoacids which can be chained to interact with whatever other molecule they have to. Or build another molecule that can. Ranging from regulating what can enter your cells, to simple enzymes like breaking fructose or maltose into glucose, to something as complex as a ribosome or DNA repairs. It's not always the most efficient way, but they can be coded in a standardized way.)

    So what I'm REALLY getting at is: does this make any sense? Building a bunch of synthetic capillaries, or getting an "oxygen therapy" or whatnot, seems to be just a way to tell (other) cells, basically, "oh, we have all the oxygen we need here, kthxbye." So basically just some other capillaries won't form. Or disappear right back.

    Don't get me wrong, though, I'm not flat-out saying that this is useless. I'm sure smarter people than me have figured out a practical use, and they're not posting at 2 AM or after 2 beers either. Just wondering what that use might be. And how are they going to solve the practical problems, like other capillaries not forming any more. I just want to know, that's all.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers

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