U of Texas research examines method to grow cells

University of Texas at Austin researcher Janet Zoldan published two papers recently that describes a way to prompt the growth of cells that make up blood vessels in an in vitro 3D environment that mimics the human body. The second paper that gives an in-depth description of the materials and process of the experiment.
The first paper was published in Tissue Engineering Part A, and the second paper appeared in Journal of Visual Experiments.

Zoldan, assistant professor in biomedical engineering, and her lab work with human induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs), according to a University of Texas article. IPSCs are powerful patient-derived stem cells that can be differentiated into any specific type of cell in the body. For this study, researchers were specifically interested in differentiating IPSCs into endothelial cells in a three-dimensional environment.

Understanding how to grow vasculature from IPSCs could lead to beneficial impacts in treating patient-specific ischemic diseases. Vasculature grown from a patient's own cells could be used to replace damaged vessels, according to the article.

While there have previously been many models showing how IPSCs may grow into endothelial cells two-dimensionally, e.g., on a cell culture dish, no one has rigorously tested vascular progenitor growth in a three-dimensional environment. For this study, researchers worked with collagen as a three-dimensional structure because that material is a major component in the human extracellular matrix.

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