Pigs Bladder Football

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This article was written on 16 Apr 2012, and is filled under 2012, 3D Forms, Cell Materials, Lab, News, Notes, Patches.

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Laboratory Update

Quick update from the lab (warning! this is more geeky than usual.)

To clarify: we are proposing, prototyping and developing a proof-of-concept clinically engineered football – a football which will be grown from living animal cells to our own bespoke design.

To this end it will be necessary to create an environment within which these cells can grow and also, we need to make a structure onto which the cells can adhere so that they can take on our desired football shape.  Last week, in the lab, I set up a simple spinning flask bio-reactor to see if this would encourage cell growth onto a nylon scaffold material (which has, up until now, proved elusive).

A square piece of the nylon scaffold material was suspended inside the spinning flask using a piece of wire and a high concentration of mouse cells (approximately 10 million) were introduced into 200ml of medium.

After two days, it appeared that the some cells were attaching to the scaffold – a very positive sign – and so the next step was to establish whether this truly was a viable way to encourage the cells to adhere to the scaffoldor perhaps the cells had just settled there as a result of the flow of the medium in the flask.

The square of nylon mesh material was transferred to a petri-dish with fresh medium and placed within an incubator to see if the cells would continue to grow in a stable way and perhaps even fully populate the mesh of the scaffold.

A few days later and the cells still seem to be adhering to the scaffold rather well.n  Whether they will grow further, and inhabit the whole scaffold remains to be seen, but it seems clear that they are bridging the large gaps between the different strands of the nylon material – a good sign.   This spinning flask technique for seeding the cells onto the scaffold seems to be a step in the right direction – in the coming weeks I will try this same experiment with many different kinds of cell and scaffold material to try and identify optimum combinations for growing our football material.

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