Part of human tissues such as bone, muscle, blood vessel, or even nerve can be "batch-produced'' in another 10 or 15 years said Doctor Cui Zhanfeng, professor with the Department of Engineering Science of the University of Oxford and the first chair professor of Cheung Kong Scholar Program with Dalian University of Technology, in his recent interview with reporters.
Professor Cui has been engaged in tissue engineering research for a long time. He said the tissue engineering aims at developing biological substitute and implanting the substitute into human body in order to replace, repair, maintain or strengthen the functions of human body tissues. At the present there are two modules for the research: one is an autologous module. For instance, if something goes wrong with a patient's bone, then the necrosis message of the bone can be understood via X-rays. The message can be input into a computer and the computer will design a new support for the bone. Then type out a three-dimension support made of high polymer degradation material, put the patient's own stem cells into the support, cultivate a new bone by the way of engineering technology and finally implant the new bone into the patient's body. The module can be used for clinical application in three or five years. The second module is the industrialized production of living tissues. Now man-made living skin can be bought at the market. In future thousands of different patterns and specifications of bone, muscle, blood vessel and muscle tendon can be produced by biological engineering technology, which can be preserved through frozen way. In case of requirement, suitable "gene'' products can be implanted into a patient's body just like blood transfusion.
Cui said that despite of some explorations there would be many technical difficult problems before realizing batch production of human tissues. For example the sources of stem cells, the material for support, bioreactor, how to enlarge tissues in industrialized production as well as any rejections caused by implanting. They are involved in many areas of engineering, medical science and materials. But he believes that the process will not last long. It is in the hope that batch production of human tissues can be achieved in the coming 10 to 15 years.
By People's Daily Online