Manufacturing parts of the body is a challenge for biomedical engineers because tissues can be incredibly complex in properties, movement and function. This is difficult to replicate in an artificial design, so T3mPLATE are combining different techniques and technologies to help the body regenerate severely injured tissue inside the body. Injuries can differ greatly in complexity, sometimes the body is unable to naturally regenerate but a cell response can be engineered when the body doesn’t have the capacity to heal, providing much better outcomes for patients.
Techniques such as using cameras to get a visual idea of structural requirements and using artificial intelligence algorithms to develop personalised 3D printed tissue scaffolds are some examples of technologies being used in the T3mPLATE laboratory. The team are using the 3D printed scaffolds to generate human bone inside models, using cells and bone marrow from a patient, which can be used to treat patients with multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer). The team can also create tissue models for cancer research to test how particular cells interact with different drug types. This means that instead of researchers growing cells in a petri dish, biomedical engineers can 3D print a more genuine and authentic cell microenvironment that more closely replicates the natural reaction in human tissue.
While the team is predominantly focussed on developing technologies to improve cardiovascular disease treatments, the techniques are applicable to all soft tissues. For example, the team are working with Fiona Woods to find new ways to improve treatment for severe burns. By using the body as a bioreactor, the T3mPLATE team are able to use pioneering new technologies to accelerate the healing process and improve regenerative responses.