Worcester team grows heart tissue on spinach leaves

Establishing a vascular system to create full-size tissue, bone and organs is still a challenge for researchers, according to a Worcester Polytechnic Institute announcement. 
“Current bioengineering techniques, including 3-D printing, can't fabricate the branching network of blood vessels down to the capillary scale that are required to deliver the oxygen, nutrients, and essential molecules required for proper tissue growth,” according to the article.

To solve this problem, a multidisciplinary research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Arkansas State University-Jonesboro have successfully turned to plants.

The initial findings were published online in the journal Biomaterials.

According to the abstract: By taking advantage of the similarities in the vascular structure of plant and animal tissues, we developed decellularized plant tissue as a prevascularized scaffold for tissue engineering applications. Perfusion-based decellularization was modified for different plant species, providing different geometries of scaffolding. After decellularization, plant scaffolds remained patent and able to transport microparticles. Plant scaffolds were recellularized with human endothelial cells that colonized the inner surfaces of plant vasculature.

Researchers Glenn Gaudette and Luke Perreault are BMES members.

CLICK HERE for the full WPI article.
CLICK HERE for the Biomaterials article.