World’s first functional tissue engineered oesophagus

World’s first functional tissue engineered oesophagus

Paolo De Coppi, ICH

A pioneering new study from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and The Francis Crick Institute co-funded by the Rosetrees Trust has seen researchers grow the world’s first oesophagus engineered from stem cells and successfully transplanted them into mice, according to results published in Nature Communications. Around one in 3,000 babies (in the UK) are born with a life-changing defect of the gut such as oesophageal atresia, which results in an incomplete oesophagus. The study was carried out in pre-clinical models and further research is needed but it is hoped that this new research could ultimately pave the way for clinical trials of lab-grown oesophageal tissue for children with congenital and acquired gut conditions.

Paola Bonfanti, The Crick Institute

Paolo De Coppi, who is co-lead author of the paper, Consultant at GOSH and Head of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at ICH said:“This is a major step forward for regenerative medicine, bringing us ever closer to treatment that goes beyond repairing damaged tissue and offers the possibility of rejection-free organs and tissues for transplant.”
Study co-lead author Dr Paola Bonfanti, who is also a Group Leader at The Francis Crick Institute and Research Associate at ICH said: “This is the first time that such a complicated organ has been grown in the lab. Not only is the gut tube shaped, but as it also consists of several different layers of cells, which means we had to use a multi-step approach to develop a piece of oesophagus which resembles and works the same as a normal one.” More information can be found here.

Virtual tumours to aid in cancer drug delivery

Virtual tumours to aid in cancer drug delivery

Scientists can now simulate the delivery of cancer drugs and therefore help predict their effectiveness as a result of Rosetrees-funded research from UCL. The research was led by our 2016 Interdisciplinary award winners, Dr. Rebecca Shipley and Dr. Simon Walker-Samuel. The work combines high-resolution imaging and computational modelling to virtually reconstruct cancers for these simulations.Cancers vary markedly in their architecture from patient to patient, which results in considerable variation drug uptake between patients. This makes it difficult to predict which patients will benefit from a drug.

Dr. Simon Walker-Samuel, UCL

The research has significant potential for the development of effective, targeted cancer therapies. The study combined advanced imaging techniques with mathematical modelling, creating virtual simulations able to investigate how drugs are distributed once injected and help predict tumour response.

The framework, named REANIMATE (REAlistic Numerical Image-based Modelling of biologicAl Tissue substratEs), reconstructs tumours so that researchers can run

Dr. Rebecca Shipley, UCL

detailed computational experiments to study the transport of fluid and its complex interactions with biological tissue. Dr. Shipley based in the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Director of UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, commented “REANIMATE’s integration of ex vivo and in vivo imaging with mathematical modelling is a novel approach that provides an entirely new framework for therapy prediction in tumours.” Dr. Simon Walker-Samuel, UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging, explained “These advances are a truly interdisciplinary effort and would not be possible without the combined input of mathematicians, cancer biologists, clinicians, imaging specialists and engineers.”The research was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering and was funded by the Rosetrees Trust and Wellcome Trust. More information can be found here.