Our lab has pioneered the use of direct perfusion of fluid through the matrix of engineered tissues to mimic interstitial fluid flow within custom-designed bioreactor chambers in order to generate and sustain uniform tissue structures.
Diabetes mellitus, the complex and multifactorial disease characterized by hyperglycaemia, results from a loss of pancreatic insulin-producing β-cells. However, none of the current cell-based diabetic therapies is autologous; whereas transplantation of pancreatic islets typically suffers from donor scarcity, compatibility and variability in graft quality.
A way to solve these issues is to engineer autologous patient cells to act like healthy pancreatic β-cells and re-implant them. We hypothesize that culture of these genetically programmed pancreatic cells within the developed 3D perfusion-based culture system in co-culture with vascularizing autologous cells will generate micro-tissues with improved in vitro and in vivo functionality.