Multiple Paths of Convergence in Tissue Engineering
This article was originally published in Start Up
A collaboration within Carnegie Mellon is using ink-jet printing technology to create spatial patterns of growth factors, and in turn using them to influence the development of stem cells in vitro. The technology could provide a better means of harnessing the power of growth factor biology in regenerative medicine. The team is also using it to begin to develop rudimentary artificial bone-tendon-muscle constructs for eventual clinical use.
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Noteworthy news from medtech start-ups. In this issue: New Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering, with brief profiles of BioCeramic Therapeutics Ltd., Histogen Inc., Humacyte Inc., and Tissue Regenix. (Adapted from "Scaffolds in Tissue Engineering," START-UP, February 2008.)
Stem-cell-related strategies may predominate these days in tissue engineering, but cell therapy companies know that providing the right microenvironment for nurturing tissue growth remains a difficult and essential challenge. Thus, start-ups remain committed to the developent of cellular matrices that provide the appropriate structure, environment, and bioactivity to encourage tissue growth. The four start-ups profiled in this issue represent a cross-section of strategies.
Companies are drawing parallels between the monoclonal antibody industry and stem cells, and they are trying to strike a balance between gaining a stake in a field with tremendous potential without being too early. Stem cells have the potential to treat some of the largest degenerative diseases in the cardiovascular, neurological, orthopedic segments--markets worth in the double digit billions, according to a recent report on Tissue Engineering, issued by Medtech Insight. No company wants to be left behind.