Alex Seifalian’s lab at University College London is helping humans who lose body parts to repair their bodies the way a newt would if it lost its tail – by growing another.
The researchers in his lab, which Seifalian calls “the human body parts store,” create the body parts with synthetic materials and a patient’s stem cells.
The lab builds a scaffold of the needed body part with a porous nanocomposite material, developed and patented by the team, and then puts it in a bioreactor with some of the patient’s bone marrow. The patient’s cells cover the scaffold and fill its many holes so that it essentially becomes the patient’s own.
After it is inserted into the patient, it’s absorbed by the body and replaced by new cells over time.
1. A nose mold made of nanocomposite material seeded with cells in a cell solution.
2. A nose mold.
3. An ear mold made of nanocomposite material.
4. A lab-grown trachea, or windpipe, inside a bioreactor.
5. An artery is tested using a simulated heard and blood flow.
6. Nose and ear molds made of nanocomposite material seeded with cells in a cell solution.
Credit: Seamus Murphy/VII