|BIOMATERIALS AND TE
SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY LAB
|Conventional cell culturing systems are constituted by rigid, bi-dimensional plates and flaskes,
which totally fail to recapitulate the complexity of the natural cell microenvironment. Cell
behavior observed in vitro might be a “beautiful artifact” that might not occur in vivo. This causes
relevant problems when drawing out definitive conclusion on the in vivo effectiveness of some
treatments or molecules, when the observation are based on 2D systems only. The activities of
the organotypic tissue labs comprise tissue engineering processes aiming at the in vitro production
of tissue and organ equivalents that fully mimic their in vivo counterparts. Novel tissue
engineering strategies developed and implemented allowed to build-up viable and functional
tissues like human skin, gut, lung and cervix.|
The fabrication of such organ equivalents has important implications in the advancement of
tissue-on-chip (TOC) technology. TOC aims at recapitulating the human physiology in a chip.
TOC has been developed to enable the study of human physiology in a tissue-specific context,
the development of in vitro models of diseases and to potentially provide a valid and effective
replacement of animals in drug testing.
The in vitro fabrication of human organs also allows the development of damaged and/or
pathologic tissues (i.e. wounded skin or tumoral tissues). This play a crucial role in the human
health by providing living platform to study both new methods and therapies with the final aim
to improve the quality of life.
The fabrication living tissue equivalents in vitro have high impact in the scientific context: to
provide tissue on demand to biologists, doctors and engineers that are interested in the study of
the human physiology in a tissue specific context.
Moreover, the implications in the industry and in the market are also high. The tissue equivalents,
can serve as biological platform to screen cosmetic compound (€200B per year), drugs
($1200B per year), toxic chemicals (mor than 100k toxic agents) or used has advanced prosthesis
to replace damaged parts (more than 3000 clinics, hospitals in Italy).